Colorado’s State Fish Is Officially Back From The Brink Of Extinction

Colorado is celebrating a huge conservation win after its state fish was found alive and well in native waters!

The state’s fish, the greenback cutthroat trout, was believed to have been lost to the state completely but that all changed in 2012.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the greenback cutthroat trout was officially listed as extinct in 1937.

It wasn’t until 2012 that conservationists discovered a small population of the trout surviving and breeding along a 3.5-mile stretch of Bear Creek. As soon as the trout were confirmed to be purebred, conservationists, researchers, and biologists began working in overdrive to protect the section of creek and encourage the species to reproduce.

Officials bred the fish in a trout hatchery and in 2016 they began efforts to repopulate the Herman Gulch.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In a press release, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced that “After more than a decade of intensive efforts to rescue the greenback cutthroat trout from the brink of extinction…the state fish is naturally reproducing in Herman Gulch.”

In the press release, Gov. Jared Polis stated:

“While we will continue to stock greenback trout from our hatcheries, the fact that they are now successfully reproducing in the wild is exciting for the future of this species. This is a huge wildlife conservation success story and a testament to the world-class wildlife agency Coloradans have in Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Colorado’s ecological diversity strengthens our community, supports our anglers, and our thriving outdoor recreation economy. CPW’s staff and our partner agencies have worked for more than a decade to restore this beloved state fish, and today’s news truly highlights the success of the work.”

CPW Acting Director Heather Dugan added, “This is a tremendous example of CPW fulfilling its mission. I am so proud of all the aquatic researchers, biologists, hatchery staff, volunteers and partner agencies who helped achieve this milestone of naturally reproducing greenback cutthroat trout. Despite more than a decade of setbacks and frustrations, CPW staff worked as a team across departments and across regions, stayed focused on the goal and now we gave this great news. It’s a great day.”

With the trout breeding naturally in the wild, officials are hopeful that it will continue to repopualte the Herman Gulch and create sustainable populations of fish.

People, Pets & Planet

Help where it’s needed most at GreaterGood for free!