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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

San Bernardino NWR Releases Native Arizona Fish onto Private Lands

Region 2, July 30, 2013
Upper Chalk Tank on the Bar Boot Ranch in May.
Upper Chalk Tank on the Bar Boot Ranch in May. - Photo Credit: n/a
Upper Chalk Tank on the Bar Boot Ranch at Time of Fish Release (July 30)
Upper Chalk Tank on the Bar Boot Ranch at Time of Fish Release (July 30) - Photo Credit: n/a

In July, San Bernardino NWR Staff released 1,100 native Yaqui topminnow into six locations on two local ranches, the Bar Boot Ranch and the 99-Bar Ranch, both located upstream of the Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge has been stocking these impoundments with native fish since the implementation of the Leslie Canyon Watershed Safe Harbor Agreement in 2008. This year is special in that two of the impoundments had gone dry in March. One of these impoundments, when at full capacity, has a surface area of approximately four and one-half acres, and had been at near capacity level as recently as 2010; the other impoundment is two acres when full. Both impoundments were filled to over half of their capacity with runoff from this year’s monsoon rains. The topminnow was the only species released at this time to act as mosquito control and due to the possibility of drought drying the ponds again. By releasing just one species, it makes it easier should refuge staff have to go into the impoundments and salvage the fish. Other species that have been released in these impoundments in the past are the Yaqui chub and the Yaqui Beautiful shiner. If water levels remain at or near their current levels, these other fish, as well as additional topminnow, could be released onto the ranches next year.

Contact Info: Christopher Lohrengel, 520-364-2104 x.106, chris_lohrengel@fws.gov