The greenback cutthroat trout has a long and storied history here in Colorado, one that our organization, the Greenbacks, cares very much about. We will chronicle that history and update you with the latest developments regarding the conservation of this unique species in the coming weeks and months.
For now, we are on a quest to produce a short film about the only remaining wild greenback population. We aim to raise awareness and money to help recover and proliferate this species. Along those lines, three members of our group recently traveled to Bear Creek just outside of Colorado Springs. The goal was to capture images and video for the film, interview the leading Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist working on the issue, and to generally get a feel for the place. There are many complicated issues swirling around the protection of this fish and the future management of the area so we hope to eventually show others who share our passion for native trout how they can help.
We began the day nice and early and it didn’t take long for the jokes and jabs to start up as the coffee kicked in. As with all things in this group, fun is easy to come by because we all share a passion for fish and conservation. The morning was foggy, cool and dappled with sunlight, which made for good conditions to capture images.
We are lucky enough to have two outstanding photographers/videographers in our ranks, and in order to capture the perfect images, we needed lots of tools and lots of adjustments. But, have no doubt, the final product will be well worth the effort.
The first task was interviewing Doug Krieger. Doug is the Senior Aquatic Biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in the Southeast region. He is well acquainted with the greenback issue after more than two decades of working on greenback recovery. Doug provided a great overview of how we got to the current situation. He is also very interested in our project and will act as a liaison in the coming years to help direct our energy for helping the greenback.
Next up was capturing images of the amazing Bear Creek watershed and the rare greenback cutthroat trout. We spent the next few hours hiking and finding ideal places for more images.
This particular watershed makes for tough living conditions for trout due to the erosive Pikes Peak granite that underlies the entire area. Each rain event pushes course sediment into the creek. The sediment is filling the holding/wintering pools due to the lack of heavy runoff or flushing events. Like many other cutthroat populations, these fish are relegated to a tiny stream isolated from others of their kind. This drainage is the only place the greenback exists however so we’ll work with what we have.
The rain eventually came and we had to bail so we weren’t caught in a deluge or struck by lightening. The trip was very productive and definitely jogged the imaginations of the creative souls on the journey. Keep an eye out for more on this issue and how you can help in the effort.