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Crews with the Department of Game and Fish and the Santa Fe National Forest used electroshocking equipment to stun the fish so they could be transported to Seven Springs Hatchery near Fenton Lake. The 5- to 10-inch trout will remain at the hatchery until they can be returned to Polvadera Creek, or biologists find another suitable stream for them.
About 1,000 adult cutthroats live in a five-mile section of Polvadera Creek, according to estimates by fisheries biologists Chantel Cook of the Santa Fe National Forest and Kirk Patten of the Department of Game and Fish. The stream is considered a "core" population of pure-strain native Rio Grande cutthroats, important to the species and recovery efforts because of their genetic diversity.
Sixty of the trout removed from the stream Tuesday were tested to ensure they were free of whirling disease, bacterial kidney disease and other viruses and bacteria -- standard procedure when trout are moved from one location to another, Patten said.
The 15-day-old, lightning-caused South Fork Fire was considered 45 percent contained Friday morning. Although the Fish in the creek are not threatened by the fire at this time, they may be affected by ash flow after the fire.
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