Living the Dream
Dances with Gila Trout
A short story by Nate Wiese, Project Leader at Mora NFH.
The Mora NFH is located in north-central New Mexico on the edge of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range about 1.5 miles north of Mora, New Mexico on state highway 434.
Mora NFH is dedicated to the restoration and recovery of the threatened Gila trout, a fish found only in the high desert and mountain watersheds of the Gila, Salt, and Verde drainages in New Mexico and Arizona. Biologists maintain wild brood stocks of the rare Gila trout, keeping them in as much a natural setting as possible.
The facility has the ability to keep broodfish separated in four specially designed systems, as well as hold wild fish in four separate isolation facilities. These systems are also used for emergency rescue of fish threatened by wildfire.
The hatchery was created in 1994 and was operational by 1998. Water is a scarce commodity in the arid southwest and is increasingly in demand for agriculture, municipal, and recreational uses. This demand has consequently impacted aquatic habitats and their inhabitants. Region 2 pushed for an innovative hatchery to assist in tackling these issues. Typical intensive and extensive fish culture techniques use far more water than was available, so a recirculation hatchery was designed. It relies on water re-use and re-circulation technologies to reduce quantities of influent water required by approximately 95 percent.
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