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Contact: Zachary Whitlow, (505) 672-3861 ext. 1512Los Alamos, NM – Effective immediately, Bandelier National Monument will enact a temporary parkwide fishing closure to support fish restoration.
Following the Las Conchas Fire, significant flooding events swept through Bandelier in 2011 and 2013 wiping out the native fish population. The National Park Service, working with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, began reintroducing Rio Grande cutthroat trout in 2018. Rio Grande chub and sucker have also recently started to be reintroduced. Natural Resources staff at Bandelier have been monitoring the fish recovery progress ever since.
Unfortunately, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout population has not recovered as expected. There is currently no data on the Rio Grande chub and sucker since reintroduction only began in Fall 2022. Water quality testing has shown a decline in macroinvertebrate populations since the fire and floods. “Simply put, there is no food for the fish,” said Superintendent Patrick Suddath. “Even catching and releasing them appears to be causing undue stress.” Water temperature is also high due to lack of shade in the burn areas.
Alternative management strategies are being investigated to restore the natural riparian habitat in these areas. The Rio Grande cutthroat trout population will continue to be monitored to assess population growth and inform future park management decisions.
Last updated: March 10, 2023