Northern Redbelly Dace Project
Ocean First Institute, Boulder County Parks and Open Space, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Denver Zoo, St. Vrain Valley School District
2022 Innovative EE Program Award Recipient
The Redbelly Dace Recovery Project is a collaboration among Boulder County Parks & Open Space wildlife and Education & Outreach staff, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Ocean First Institute, Denver Zoo, and St. Vrain Valley School District. The purpose is to restore a Species of Special Concern in Boulder County and provide scientific experience for local students as they grow, release, and monitor fish under the supervision of wildlife professionals. Objectives include: (1) rearing a state-endangered fish under a CPW special use permit in classrooms and providing scientific experience, (2) releasing the fish into wild habitats in Boulder County and allowing students to monitor water quality as well as develop novel technology to identify fish using underwater cameras, and (3) allowing students to pilot the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) to study dace in the wild. In 2021 the partnership learned more about the scientifically novel process of captive breeding, expanded environmental monitoring, served educational outreach to adults and students, and expanded partnerships. Under the leadership of Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza, students, teachers, and researchers worked together to successfully breed, rear, and release more than 800 dace into Webster Pond at Pella Crossing Open Space in 2021.