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  • New Mexico Outdoor News

    Location: New Mexico

    FARMINGTON -- More than 3,000 endangered roundtail chubs are swimming in their native waters of the San Juan River this month following a successful release of the large minnows by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

    Roundtail chubs (Gila robusta), grow up to 12 inches long. They historically occurred throughout the Colorado River basin, including the San Juan River and its tributaries in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, but have been rare or absent in recent years. The species was listed as threatened under the New Mexico Wildlife Conservation Act in 1975 and uplisted to endangered in 1996.

    The chubs released Oct. 21 were two to three inches long, bred from chubs found in the Navajo and La Plata rivers and raised in the Colorado Division of Wildlife Native Species Hatchery. They were stocked in the San Juan River near the confluence with the Animas River, high in the system in the hope that they will disperse downstream into suitable habitat.

    Loss of roundtail chub populations in New Mexico has been attributed to poisoning that occurred before the impoundment of Navajo Dam, habitat loss and fragmentation, modified thermal regime, and predation by non-native fish.

    The recent stocking was part of a cooperative agreement among the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the Jicarilla Apache Game and Fish Department, Southern Ute Tribe Division of Wildlife Resource Management, and Colorado Division of Wildlife. Also in 2009, Jicarilla Apache Game and Fish Department and Southern Ute Division of Wildlife Resource Management stocked more than 20,000 fish from the same group in tributaries on tribal land, as well as completing habitat enhancement projects.

    Learn more:

    Colorado River Basin Chubs (Roundtail Chub Gila robusta, Gila Chub Gila intermedia, and Headwater Chub Gila nigra) Recovery Plan

    Chubs in the Tub, Colorado Division of Wildlife Native Species Hatchery

    San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program

    News Source: New Mexico F&G - Nov. 04, 2009

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