As part of a continuing effort to restore all extirpated native fish species, staff from Great Basin National Park, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and the Nevada Division of Wildlife successfully relocated three species of nongame fishes into a park stream on Thursday, October 2nd.
These three species of nongame fish â mottled sculpin, speckled dace, and redside shiner â originally occupied several of the parkâs perennial streams. With the cooperation of a private landowner, about two hundred fish of each species were collected from a nearby stream in Snake Valley and released into Strawberry Creek, which has a thriving population of reintroduced Bonneville cutthroat trout.
Great Basin National Park began its native fish restoration efforts in 1999 with a project that reintroduced Bonneville cutthroat trout. In 2005 and 2006, with five self-sustaining populations of Bonneville cutthroat trout now in the park, the focus shifted to restoring the complete native fish assemblages with the first reintroduction of the three nongame fishes to two park streams â Strawberry Creek and South Fork Big Wash.
Future goals of the project include expanding their distribution throughout Strawberry Creek and establishing populations in other park streams. If successful, the reintroduction efforts will restore all extirpated fishes to several park streams and at the same time create refugia populations in a region where many populations of native fishes were lost or reduced historically and continue to be vulnerable to extirpation.