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AZGFD Among Recovery Champion Award Recipients For Gila Trout Protection

The collaborative efforts of multiple natural resource agencies to protect Gila trout and other native fish populations after last year's devastating Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire in New Mexico were recognized with the 2012 Region 2 Recovery Champion Award.

Recovery Champions are U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff and their partners whose work in advancing the recovery of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals.

The award was presented to the Gila trout and Chihuahua Recovery Team of Julie Carter, Arizona Game & Fish Department's Conservation & Mitigation Program supervisor; Jim Brooks of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Jerry Monzingo of the Gila National Forest; Kirk Patten of New Mexico Department of Game and Fish; and David L. Propst, Ph.D. and Thomas Turner, Ph.D, of the University of New Mexico.

Carter said that before monsoons hit, and once it was deemed safe, ground crews in New Mexico horse-backed into the Gila National Forest to salvage the Gila trout, with a helicopter standing by to transport the trout to hatchery crews in nearby N.M. towns. Arizona's assistance came into play when some of the salvaged Gila trout were transported to Ash Creek, in eastern Arizona.

"We had more than 25 people waiting to help backpack the fish into Ash Creek," Carter said. "This project and the salvage of other native fishes in New Mexico as a result of the fire were successful due to the incredible coordination and dedicated biologists, especially ground crews in New Mexico that traveled on the forest immediately after the fire."

More information on the award is available at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/recovery-champions.


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