Community volunteers helped the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish relocate 10,000 Rio Grande cutthroat trout to the upper box of the Río Grande Basin on Friday (March 29.)
Community volunteers helped the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish relocate 10,000 Rio Grande cutthroat trout to the upper box of the RíoGrande Basin on Friday (March 29.) Inside plastic bags filled with water and infused with oxygen, the New Mexico State Fish were transported to one of their historically occupied habitats at the annual Questa Cutthroat Festival.
“In New Mexico and elsewhere, native trout have suffered greatly,” said Questa Village Councilor Charlie Gonzales. “Mining, grazing, logging, agriculture, as well as other fish have reduced native trout populations to a fraction of their ancestral abundance.”
Friday’s festival marked the 10th year that the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has been restocking the native trout in the Río Grande Basin. In the early years, a small group of dedicated New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Taos Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service personnel hiked up and down the canyon multiple times to release thousands of cutthroat trout.
“They were very long days and we couldn’t bring nearly the same amount of fish,” said Ryan Besser, a fisheries, riparian and water resources biologist with the Bureau of Land Management. “Now that we have all these volunteers, there are so many benefits. People have a sense of stewardship to bring these fish down. We can use it to teach about sustainability, native populations and we don’t have to hike up and down a whole bunch.”
Close to 200 volunteers turned out to help with cutthroat trout conservation efforts.
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