Antero Reservoir Draining
- I had contacted Denver Water Board about news I heard of their intentions to drain Antero Reservoir. There is a Pelican rookery there and I wanted to be sure they considered that. Here is their response.
Thank you for your email, I would be happy to forward it on to the Denver Board of Water Commissioners at their next meeting. We certainly understand your concern about the pelican rookery at Antero reservoir, it is something we monitored the last time Antero reservoir was drained. During the 2002 drought when Antero reservoir had to be drained we did not observe any negative impacts to the pelicans in that area. Antero is going to be drained slowly throughout the summer, and even when Antero is completely drained there is still a spring that runs naturally though the area that will continue to provide small amounts of water. Even when Antero was drained for several years (2002-2007) we found that the pelican population would return regularly to Antero reservoir.
Similarly, David Klute of Colorado Parks and Wildlife let me know that they do not expect any impacts on populations of pelicans in Colorado or regionally due to the draining of Antero reservoir. The draining will, of course, very likely result in non-use of the reservoir when drained; however, as it drains, concentrations of fish into remaining pools could be used by pelicans for easy foraging. There has historically been limited breeding at Antero Reservoir and they would expect any breeding birds to simply disperse to other breeding sites in Colorado (e.g., Riverside Reservoir) or migrate to breeding locations further north. Colorado, in general, supports very little pelican breeding compared to areas further north. The majority of pelicans seen in Colorado are sub-adults, non-breeding adults, or migrants. They make use of the very large number of irrigation and water supply reservoirs found throughout the state. Any pelicans which would have used Antero Reservoir for foraging and loafing should definitely be able to find other water bodies within a very easy flying distance, particularly given that pelicans often make very large distance flights in a given day.
If you have any further questions about the pelican population near Antero please contact David Klute, david.klute@..., from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, they are a great resource.
Heather Stauffer | Public Affairs
Denver Water | t: 303-628-6663