Date: May 15, 2023
By: Chris Canaly (Director of SLVEC)
The Rio Grande Roundtable organized a tour event to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) J. W. Mumma Native Aquatic Species Restoration Facility (NASRF) last month (4/19/23). The facility is located just southeast of Alamosa. Address: 6655 South County Rd 106.
NASRF is dedicated to protecting and restoring threatened and endangered aquatic species native to Colorado. The state of the art facility, currently raises 12 species of threatened and endangered fish, including the federally endangered bonytail chub and other state species of concern.
The staff was so knowledgeable and generous of their time, especially since they have a very busy schedule raising and feeding fish. Eggs are fed and cultivated until they are hatched, and then each stage of fish species is carefully monitored until they are ready for release.
Greenback Cutthroat Trout Stocking (Colorado Parks and Wildlife)
The facility also raises the endangered boreal toad. Since its inception in 2000, the NASRF has protected 16 different fish species and has stocked more than 2.1 million fish in rivers, streams and lakes throughout Colorado. The NASRF is the only hatchery of its kind in North America. Free Guided tours for groups (call ahead to make arrangements at 719-587-3392. Contact: Ted Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
Playa Blanca State Wildlife Area (SWA) borders the hatchery, providing wildlife watching opportunities! NASRF and the surrounding 750 acre wetlands serve as a wildlife refuge for the migratory Sandhill Crane and numerous waterfowl & shorebirds by providing habitat and food to sustain their seasonal activities and needs.
Currently there are 12 species of fish and one amphibian specie reared at NASRF. Many are State Threatened, Endangered or Species of Special Concern and one, the Bonytail chub, is federally listed.
Bonytail chub- Federal and State Endangered
Rio Grande Sucker- State Endangered
Plains Minnow- State Endangered
Suckermouth Minnow- State Endangered
Northern Redbelly Dace- State Endangered
Southern Redbelly Dace- State Endangered
Arkansas Darter- State Threatened
Common Shiner- State Threatened
Rio Grande Chub- Species of Special Concern
Roundtail Chub- Species of Special Concern
Bluehead Sucker- No official state status at this time
Flannelmouth Sucker- No official state status at this time
Boreal Toad- State Endangered
A limited knowledge base is currently available for the culture and propagation of these species. NASRF staff must ascertain water quality, photoperiod, dietary needs, and the appropriate spawning and habitat requirements unique to each species. Through research and employment of new and improved culture techniques, technologies and methodologies, NASRF continues to maximize its production while ensuring a safe and ethical culture environment for its native aquatic species at risk. To date, NASRF has been successful in the captive propagation of 11 species of fish and the Boreal toad, a State endangered high-elevation amphibian.
Some hatcheries offer self-guided tours, while others may have tour guides available during certain times of the year. To enhance your experience, educational materials are available at all hatcheries. Check out the hatchery map to find a hatchery near you!