It should be no secret whatsoever that Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) is damn good at their job. Did I say damn good?… I meant to say MIND-BOGGLINGLY INCREDIBLY. So damn incredible, in fact, that the department has successfully managed to get a fish, once thought to be long extinct, to naturally reproduce in its original habitat.
The greenback cutthroat trout could once be found throughout Colorado in a multitude of different mountain streams and rivers. With an increase in mining pollution and overfishing, however, the species’ population began to dwindle. In 1937, the fish was thought to be completely extinct.
In 2012, CPW was able to confirm that a small population of wild greenback cutthroat was living outside of its natural habitat in Bear Creek, located on the southwest edge of Colorado Springs. The organization believes the fish was likely brought to the area for tourist fishing in the late 1800s.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife began reintroducing the greenback cutthroat to its original habitat following the Bear Creek discovery and, on Friday, September 23rd, the organization announced the discovery of natural reproduction among the species in Herman Gulch. The Greenback Cutthroat Trout was officially adopted as Colorado’s state fish 1996, making the successful reintroduction effort even more impactful.
“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.” – Colorado Governor Jared Polis
BREAKING NEWS: @GovofCO announces @COParksWildlife discovery of greenback cutthroat trout are naturally reproducing in ancestral waters of their native South Platte Drainage. Greenbacks were long considered extinct. Huge win for #wildlife #conservation.https://t.co/XMdCESCklS pic.twitter.com/Y5wiwrdenS
— CPW SE Region (@CPW_SE) September 23, 2022
Image Credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Twitter