In news just released from the University of Colorado, Boulder, a team led by postdoctoral researcher Jessica Metcalf has discovered a pure strain of greenback cutthroat trout in Bear Creek, a remote drainage of the Arkansas River. Tested against ethanol-preserved DNA samples taken from cutthroat specimens as far back as 150 years ago, the results proved surprising.
“We’ve known for some time that the trout in Bear Creek were unique,” says Doug Krieger, Greenback Cutthroat Trout Recovery Team leader and senior aquatic biologist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “But we didn’t realize they were the only surviving greenback population.”
Cutthroats previously tagged as greenbacks will be renamed, according to federal, state, and Trout Unlimited officials, and the greenback cutthroat’s status is to be reevaluated from listed as “endangered” from “threatened.”