Greenback cutthroat trout exist in only one body of water, a small stream known as Bear Creek, not far outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado. In fact, the greenback cutthroat trout is one of the rarest trout in the world, with only 750 individual fish remaining. The survival of these rarest of trout is in severe jeopardy, and those that are striving to prevent the greenback's extinction are making a dire plea for help.
A new website, 1of750.com seeks to educate fishermen and other conservation-minded individuals alike about the history and current plight of the greenback. According to the website
Greenbacks, like all of Colorado’s native trout, were pushed to the brink of extinction through overfishing, development and pollution from the arrival of Europeans through the turn of the 20th century. The fish were under so much pressure they were thought to have gone extinct in the 1930’s.
Fast-forward 30 years, scientists discovered what they thought were relic populations of greenbacks. They began using these populations as the brood stock for spreading fish around the Front Range and in 1978, the greenback was downlisted to “threatened” status once the goal of 20 self-sustaining populations was met.
Through recent breakthroughs in genetics science, new techniques were discovered to decode genetic lineages and to test samples that were gathered over a century ago. By cross-testing historic samples with contemporary samples, including fish from Bear Creek, it was discovered that there were six distinct lineages of cutthroat trout in Colorado. Two of these species are extinct while four others remain in watersheds across Colorado – one species resides in the Rio Grande river watershed, one occupies the Gunnison and Colorado river watersheds and one lives in the Yampa and White river watersheds.
Testing on the fourth species revealed the most shocking news: only one wild population remained of the greenback cutthroat trout. This lone population exists in Bear Creek just outside of Colorado Springs.
Supporters of the greenback cutthroat trout have developed a plan -- which revolves primarily around stream and habitat restoration and education -- that they hope will help insure the survival and success of these fish. And they are asking for your help to fund their efforts. Beginning on January 8th 2014, they will be running an Indiegogo project with the goal of raising $10,000 to support their efforts.
To learn more about the greenback cutthroat trout, the efforts to help preserve them and how you can help, please visit 1of750.com. Also be sure to check out the video below.