COMMISSION APPROVES RIO GRANDE CUTTHROAT TROUT RESTORATION

LAS CRUCES -- This summer, the Department of Game and Fish and several partners will take the first steps in an ambitious 10- to 15-year project to restore pure-strain native Rio Grande cutthroat trout to about 125 miles of streams and 20 lakes in the species' historic range in northern New Mexico. The State Game Commission approved the initial phases of the Rio Costilla Restoration Project at its meeting March 28 in Las Cruces. The project's goal is to remove non-native trout and replace them with pure-strain Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Removing non-native trout will be accomplished in steps, including increased angling opportunities, electroshocking, salvage bag limits, and treatment with short-lived chemicals if necessary. Work on Comanche Creek and its feeder streams is scheduled for summer and fall of 2007. Restoration partners include the Department of Game and Fish, the New Mexico Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Forest Service and private landowners adjacent to the Valle Vidal unit of the Carson National Forest.