BioPark releases minnows into Rio Grande - Albuquerque Journal

BioPark releases minnows into Rio Grande

Chloe Podkonjak and Brandon Gibson with the Albuquerque BioPark release Rio Grande silvery minnows into the river this week. The facility released 42,000 fish at three sites. (Courtesy of ABQ BioPark)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Thousands of Rio Grande silvery minnows were released into the river this week after several months of tender, loving care at the Albuquerque BioPark.

Crews launched 42,000 of the fish into the Rio Grande through a large tube as part of the facility’s endangered species recovery efforts.

Kathy Lang, the BioPark’s aquatic conservation and operations manager, said each 1.5-inch-long fish was injected with a visible mark just under the skin.

“The marks are for folks doing surveys in the river tracking the minnow population,” Lang said. “If they were to catch a whole bunch of fish, but they were hatchery fish, that wouldn’t necessarily show how the natural population in the river is recovering.”

The team released 14,000 fish each at the Central Bridge in Albuquerque, the north boundary of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, and a site near Jarales, south of Belen.

Rio Grande silvery minnow (Courtesy Joel Lusk/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Aquatic biologists collected the fish as eggs from the river in the spring.

Eggs were distributed between the BioPark, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife hatchery in Dexter, and the Los Lunas silvery minnow refugium.

“You don’t want all your eggs in one basket, so to speak,” Lang said. “The early life stages are the most critical.”

Minnow habitat at the BioPark hatchery mimics ideal natural conditions so that as many fish as possible can survive to produce more minnows.

“As they age, we put them in outdoor tanks, which have more selection of natural foods like algae,” Lang said. “Slowly we get them away from being so dependent on human care.”

Fish and Wildlife determines the river locations where wild minnow populations need a boost from hatchery fish.

Silvery minnows were listed as endangered in 1994.

The fish was once found in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. But now the tiny fish occupy a smaller habitat range from Cochiti Pueblo to Elephant Butte Reservoir.

Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.

 


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Environmental bills to watch during this session
ABQnews Seeker
Bills would ensure water, agriculture and ... Bills would ensure water, agriculture and climate initiatives get a slice of the funding pie
2
NM Kids Count says pandemic undermined child well-being
ABQnews Seeker
Report says Hispanic famialies are hit ... Report says Hispanic famialies are hit the hardest
3
Shortage of COVID tests posing problems for schools
ABQnews Seeker
Health officials are working on distributing ... Health officials are working on distributing tests and masks over the coming weeks
4
Senate approves new rules after clash over masks
ABQnews Seeker
Face coverings will now be required ... Face coverings will now be required for the 30-day session
5
Airman gets life in prison for death of Mennonite ...
ABQnews Seeker
An Air Force airman will spend ... An Air Force airman will spend the rest of his life in prison for kidnapping a Mennonite woman from northwestern New Mexico, fatally shooting ...
6
APD arrests smoke shop owner in drug, gun bust
ABQnews Seeker
Man, 40, believed to be 'a ... Man, 40, believed to be 'a primary drug dealer' in East Central area
7
'Hamilton' at Popejoy postponed until May 2023 due to ...
ABQnews Seeker
Tickets and seats remain secure, and ... Tickets and seats remain secure, and will be honored
8
Omicron expected to peak soon in NM
ABQnews Seeker
Surge should slow by end of ... Surge should slow by end of January or early February, health officials say
9
San Felipe Pueblo member to lead Smithsonian American Indian ...
ABQnews Seeker
Her ancestry includes Hopi, Tewa and ... Her ancestry includes Hopi, Tewa and Navajo