New Mexico Gila Trout Restoration

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gila troutThe New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is seeking public comment on a proposed project to restore native Gila trout to 24 miles of Whitewater Creek and its tributaries in the Gila National Forest and Wilderness.

The project aims to expand public angling opportunities while improving conservation of native fish species. Competing non-native fish would be removed from the creek to accommodate the repopulation of native fish.

The creek would be treated with rotenone, a naturally occurring substance that affects only gill breathing animals and poses no threat to humans, but is very effective at killing fish and degrades rapidly after treatment.

Once all non-native fish have been eliminated from the creek, it will be stocked with native Gila trout and anglers will be allowed to fish for them with a daily bag limit of two. The project includes rebuilding trails to provide good public access to the creek.

The project is part of an ongoing effort to restore pure-strain Gila trout to southwestern New Mexico. The Gila trout currently is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Previous efforts have restored Gila trout to 62 miles of streams in the region.

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source: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish