Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Recovery


Colorado River Cutthroat Current Range

Colorado River Cutthroat Current Range

The Colorado River Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhyn chus clarkii pleuriticus) once occupied portions of the Colorado River drainage in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.  The CRCT currently occupy 3,022 miles of habitat  - including 1,359 miles in Colorado (10 percent of historic range in Colorado).  The Lower Green Geographical Management Unit (GMU) contained the largest amount of occupied habitat (791 stream miles), followed by the Upper Green GMU (691mi), Upper Colorado GMU (601 mi), Yampa GMU (404 mi), Gunnison GMU (292 mi), San Juan GMU (119 mi), Lower Colorado GMU (64 mi), and the Dolores GMU (60 mi), respectively (according to the Western Native Trout Initiative Report, 2016).

Similar to other native trout species in Colorado, the CRCT has been significantly impacted by habitat fragmentation, resource development, hybridization with rainbow trout, competition from non-native fish species, aquatic invasive species, and other natural and human-cased changes in habitat.  The Colorado River Cutthroat Recovery Team was established to corrdinate efforts among a handful of key states (inlcuding Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado). 

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Recovery Updates

There has been significant progress made in 2017 related to CRCT recovery.  The completion of the Hermosa Creek Project near Durango, Colorado, is one of the major ones. All said and done, the creek will provide the largest continuous stretch of native CRCT in Colorado.

Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Status Report 2016, Western Native Trout Initiative

Photo Credit: Duncan Rose

Photo Credit: Duncan Rose

ongoing projects

Dolores GMU

  • Woods Lake (20 miles)
  • Muddy Creek (2.5 miles)
  • Fall Creek (4 miles)
  • Priest Lake (9.9 acres)

Gunnison GMU

  • Cochetopa Creek (3 miles)
  • Hensen Creek (5 miles)
  • Deep Creek
  • Big Dominguez Creek

San Juan GMU

  • Navajo River (2.5 miles)
  • Hermosa Creek

Upper Colorado GMU

  • Payne Creek (1 mile)
  • Pettingell Lake (1 mile & +10 acre lake)
  • Ranch Creek (1 mile)
  • Butler Creek (3 miles)
  • Parachute Creek (2 miles)
  • Abrams Creek (3 miles)

Lower Colorado GMU

  • Short Lake (2 acre lake)
  • Tasha Creek (5 miles)
  • Boulder Creek (7.5 miles)
  • Lower Pine Creek (8.5 miles)

Yampa GMU

  • Coal Creek (8 miles)
  • Cabin Creek (2 miles & +30 acre lake)
  • Slater Creek
  • Muddy Creek (16 miles)
  • Cathedral Complex (4.5 miles)
  • Roaring Fork (12 miles)


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additional resources

Western Native Trout Initiative Website

CPW Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Conservation Website

Technical Report: 2016 Colorado River Cutthroat Species Recovery Assessment, WNTI

Technical Report: Colorado River Cutthroat Range Assessment, 2010

Technical Report: Colorado River Cutthroat Trout Conservation Agreement, 2006

Video: CRCT Hermosa Creek Project

Map: Colorado River Cutthroat Range