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PROJECT AIMS TO RESTORE RIO GRANDE CUTTHROAT TROUT IN MINERAL COUNTY
8/11/2015
Credit:
CPW News Release
MONTE VISTA, Colo. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will begin a major project to restore native Rio Grande cutthroat trout in the upper San Luis Valley, Aug. 18-20.

The Rio Grande cutthroat is one of the three subspecies of cutthroat trout that live in Colorado. Populations of the Rio Grande cutthroat have declined dramatically because of loss of habitat, and competition from and hybridization with non-native trout. Today it occupies only about 12 percent of its historic range area. In October 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that a formal listing of the Rio Grande cutthroat under the Endangered Species Act was not warranted.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working cooperatively with the state of New Mexico, the Mescalero and Jicarilla Apache nations, the Taos Pueblo, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service to build and restore Rio Grande cutthroat populations across their historic native range.

The project will take place on eight miles of Roaring Fork Creek, located about 10 miles south of Creede in Mineral County. The creek will be treated with Rotenone, an organic piscicide which will kill the non-native brook trout in the stream. Rotenone has been used for years throughout the world to control invasive fish species. It poses no harm to humans, terrestrial animals or birds, and breaks down quickly in the environment. The Rotenone will be detoxified using potassium permanganate to ensure fish are not killed outside of the intended treatment area.

Native trout will eventually be stocked in the stream, possibly late in the summer of 2016.

Part of the project will take place within the Weminuche Wilderness Area. Hikers in the area might see discolored water during the treatment period. Dyes in the Rotenone and the decontamination agent are green- and rust-colored.

For more information about Rio Grande cutthroat trout, go to: http://cpw.state.co.us.