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News brief with the Colorado Sun - PFAS-contaminated fish and the fight over Sweetwater Lake park

Greenback Cutthroat Trout from the south prong of Hayden Creek
Josh Nehring
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Greenback Cutthroat Trout from the south prong of Hayden Creek

On Tuesdays, we check in with our colleagues at the Colorado Sun about the stories they're following.

Environmental researchers say PFAS and other so-called “forever chemicals” are present at “staggeringly high” levels in freshwater fish in the mountain west.

The contaminants are in a wide variety of products, such as fabric treatments, food wrappers and even food itself. The chemicals don’t break down or go away in the environment. Instead, they build up in the food chain.

Michael Booth is the Colorado Sun’s Environmental and Health reporter. He says the chemicals are a significant hazard for people who catch and eat those fish.

“The equivalent of eating one fish is the same as drinking PFAS-tainted water for an entire month,” Booth told KUNC.

Booth says this could be an environmental justice issue for people who frequently eat fresh-caught fish for cultural or economic reasons.

In another story about natural resources, Sweetwater Lake is supposed to become Colorado's 43rd state park, but locals are prepared to fight it.

Residents in the area are concerned about the impacts of increased tourism on the environment and the community. They say if more consideration isn't given to the people who live around the lake, they'll back out of a partnership with the Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to plan the park.

As a reporter and Morning Edition host for KUNC, I follow the local stories of the day while also guiding KUNC listeners through NPR's wider-scope coverage. It's an honor and a privilege to help our audience start their day informed and entertained.