Unique Colorado trout saved from stream polluted by wildfire | PostIndependent.com | PostIndependent.com

Unique Colorado trout saved from stream polluted by wildfire

This June 17, 2018, photo provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife shows a Colorado River cutthroat trout that officials identified as a unique type or "genetic lineage" that was thought to be extinct. The fish are found in southwestern Colorado. State and federal crews hiked to two remote creeks north of Durango last month and removed nearly 60 of the fish to save them from ash that washed into the water from a wildfire. The fish were taken to a hatchery in Durango where they can be bred and then reintroduced in streams they once inhabited. (Colorado Parks and Wildlife via AP)

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — A unique type of trout thought to be extinct has been rescued from southwestern Colorado streams where ash from a wildfire threatened their survival, state officials said.

Nearly 60 Colorado River cutthroat trout were taken to a hatchery in Durango where they can be bred and then reintroduced into streams they once inhabited, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Tuesday.

Their appearance is nearly identical to other Colorado River cutthroat, but they are genetically different, agency spokesman Joe Lewandowski said.

Tests done this year confirmed they were a unique type or “genetic lineage” found in the San Juan River basin. The San Juan is a tributary of the Colorado River.

“Biologists are pretty excited about it,” Lewandowski said. “The point of it is to preserve the natural heritage that we have.”

Ash from a wildfire north of Durango this summer, called the 416 fire, was washing into nearby streams and could have killed the fish from the San Juan genetic lineage. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife crews hiked to two remote creeks last month and removed the fish to save them.

Lewandowski said the offspring from the rescued fish could be released next year.

The San Juan genetic lineage has been found in at least one other location, a ranch south of Pagosa Springs, Lewandowski said.

The San Juan cutthroats are one of three distinct genetic lineages of the Colorado River cutthroat trout. Lewandowski said the other two are found in northwest and southwest Colorado.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User