San Juan Lineage Cutthroat
In 2018, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) biologists discovered a unique genetic lineage of the Colorado River cutthroat trout in southwest Colorado that was previously thought to be extinct. Using samples housed at the Smithsonian dating back to 1874, researchers from the University of Colorado used advanced DNA testing to identify genetic markers unique to the San Juan basin.
Several small populations of these trout have been found in isolated habitats on streams of the San Juan River Basin, within the San Juan National Forest and on private property. For the San Juan cutthroat to survive in pure form after 140 years of non-native fish stocking speaks to the resiliency of this sub-specie.
Board members are working with CPW and USFS on where the emphasis will be for stocking and reintroduction of the San Juan Lineage Cutthroat. The focus will be on habitat most likely to survive future climate change.
Did You Know …
six distinct lineages of cutthroat appear to have evolved in Colorado, with native ranges that roughly correspond to major drainage basins in the state.