The plight of the cutthroat trout |

The plight of the cutthroat trout

Failure persists as state wildlife agencies contend for native trout conservancy. This week in a local meeting given by Kendall Bakich (Colorado Parks and Wildlife), the best authorities on our local Colorado River cutthroat trout and related subspecies wrestle with the notion of high-country stalking and supplanting projects.

After a decade-long battle, new genetic science has allowed an apparent mystery to be redacted. Part of this mystery and curse on the landscape was a tiring effort and accountancy of native fish that did not exist, had been stocked outside of their native habitat, and the state agency’s business of playing “God” with the genetic crossing of various species in state managed hatcheries.

In order to gain accurate knowledge, one will have to undergo extensive reading and defining of the evidences that plagued our native trout for nearly a century. To this day our local Roaring Fork watershed is home to only two populations of our indigenous cutthroat trout, among 80 square miles. Cross-breeding, competition from nonnative trout or an environmental disaster could easily desecrate the remaining and isolated populations.

We know from museum records what these fish had looked like at one time. Currently, the state agencies operate on a notion of 90 percent genetic makeup of that historic fish’s identity, worthy of protecting. We can argue more integrity needs to be forced upon the agencies to produce a purer strain of native cutthroat trout.

In order to gain control or implement the integral preservation of native gene pools, a lawsuit would have to be reenacted; and the first two strikes for this cause have been overturned by federal courts.

Perhaps furthering this cause will be left to the public, of which is still widely uninformed of the gravity of what may persist to be an out-ruled species. Resources and management implements will rely on the educated and volunteering public in order to see these native trout for generations forward.

Heath Bollock


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