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Leadville National Fish Hatchery is Using Genetics to Help Save the Greenback Cutthroat Trout
Last week, the Leadville National Fish Hatchery in Colorado, along with partners from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, and Trout Unlimited began breeding greenback cutthroat trout using genetic testing. Offspring from these matings will produce the future broodstock for stocking into restoration projects for the recovery efforts of the Colorado state fish.

The Greenback cutthroat trout is a species protected by the Endangered Species Act as a threatened species. One of the challenges to recovering the fish relates to genetic diversity which limited by low survival rates and physical deformities. With the help of our partners, the Service is working to increase the genetic diversity of these threatened fish by implementing a genetic matrix spawning plan. Under this plan, biologists have collected the genetic information on over 700 individual fish and then, during the spawning period, will use this information to develop pairings between the most distantly related females and males in hopes of improving the health and survival of this fish.