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San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge Works with Arizona Game and Fish Department to Survey Creek Impacted by 2011 Wildfire
Southwest Region, February 22, 2012
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Arizona Game and Fish Biologist Sharon Lashway and Refuge Manager Bill Radke working a pool in Rucker Creek
Arizona Game and Fish Biologist Sharon Lashway and Refuge Manager Bill Radke working a pool in Rucker Creek - Photo Credit: USFWS/C. Lohrengel

Refuge staff, along with Arizona Game and Fish Department fisheries biologist Sharon Lashway, surveyed Rucker Creek in the Chiricahua Mountains on February 22. The survey was done to investigate two things; one, had the creek recovered enough to place fish salvaged from Rucker Creek last year during the Horseshoe Two Fire back into it; and two, did the non-native rainbow trout survive the fire event. The survey was conducted by electro-fishing the stream. One person operated the shocker while three others netted and identified the species captured. Water quality measurements taken at various locations showed the water quality to be at acceptable levels for fish survivability. Other habitat observations showed that while some of the deeper pools had been filled in by sediment flows, there were still many places for fish to find cover. Invertebrate numbers appeared to have rebounded from the sediment flows as well. Approximately one and one-half miles of stream were shocked.  Staff captured approximately 95 Mexican stonerollers and 45 Mexican longfin dace. No rainbow trout were captured. The fish health was assessed by the overall appearance of the individual. The Mexican stonerollers were in breeding colors and all individuals captured appeared healthy and well fed. With the success of this survey and the need to release fish salvaged from last year, it was decided that the refuge would release half of the fish salvaged last year in March.


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



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