Restoration: Colorado Parks and Wildlife have relocated 300 or so Rio Grande Cutthroat trout from Medano Creek to Placer Creek

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From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

Biologists wanted to preserve the genetics of the Medano Creek cutthroats, so they captured 300 of the wild fish, and after testing them in an aquatic lab, restocked them in Placer Creek, a stream off La Veta Pass. “It’s one of our core conservation areas for Rio Grande cutthroat trout,” said Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist Josh Nehring, explaining that the cutthroats are protected from other trout by a fish barrier. Nehring said he’s planning to visit the stream in the near future to see if the cutthroats have started reproducing naturally in their new home. Some of the adults that were transplanted have been spotted by biologists doing other work in the area, he added.

Cutthroat are the most diverse trout species in North America, with a historical distribution covering the broadest range of any stream-dwelling trout on the continent. As they evolved in remote drainages, that isolation gave rise to 14 different sup-species, including four in Colorado: The Colorado River cutthroat trout in drainages west of the continental divide, Greenback cutthroat trout in the South Platte and Arkansas River drainages, and the Rio Grande cutthroat trout in streams that drain into the San Luis Valley.

In addition, the yellowfin cutthroat trout was historically found in Twin Lakes at the headwaters of the Arkansas drainage. Unfortunately, this predator that grew to more than 10 pounds, is now extinct.

More restoration coverage here.

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