Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Among NM Fire Evacuees

Jun 7, 2013

Credit Craig D Young

The Tres Lagunas and Thompson Ridge Wildfires continue to burn in New Mexico. The blazes have scorched more than 30 square miles, forcing the evacuation of nearly 200 homes, and about 50 Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout.

Biologists stunned and netted nearly 50 Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout from a creek being earlier this week to ensure a pure strain of the native fish would survive if the Tres Lagunas wildfire threatens their habitat.

The Cutthroat trout isn't currently listed as a threatened or endangered species, however, it is a candidate for protection. NM Game and Fish Department spokesman Mike Sloan says the move was a proactive measure, as only a few populations of the Trout are left in their native habitat.

“Each population is very important to protect the biodiversity of the state. So by protecting that population we'll be able to reproduce it and replicate it in other streams in the Pecos drainage and fortify the species existence.”

The fish have been transported to a hatchery near Fenton Lake State Park where they will remain until conditions have been deemed safe.