Wednesday August 16, 2023


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove the native Arizona Apache trout from the List of Endangered and Threatened Species. Collaboration and partner-driven habitat conservation, non-native trout removal, and reintroduction efforts helped save the Apache trout from the brink of extinction. If delisted, it would be the first gamefish to be removed from the list of threatened and endangered species.

“The Apache trout’s recovery is a significant conservation milestone and a remarkable story to celebrate, especially now during the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act,” said Amy Lueders, Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director. “The ESA makes a difference by bringing people together to find solutions to conserve and recover imperiled species like the Apache trout.”

Arizona’s state fish, the Apache trout is native exclusively to the streams in and around the White Mountains in the eastern part of the state. It was originally considered the same species as the Gila trout, which was listed under the Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1967. Apache trout was first described as a unique species separate from the Gila trout in 1972. A year later, it gained protection under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and was subsequently downlisted to threatened in 1975.

A major threat to Apache trout populations has been the introduction of non-native trout. The gene pool was threatened by hybridization with non-native rainbow and cutthroat trout. Additionally, non-native brook and brown trout pose threats through competition and predation. Much of the collaborative conservation work has involved removing these introduced trout from the Apache trout habitat and constructing barriers to block further non-native invasions.

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