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Jicarilla Apache Tribe, New Mexico

Staff Reports
3/29/00

State water managers want New Mexicos fisheries to hold public hearings on a plan to release a toxin into four trout streams of non-native fish this year. The plan includes 21/2 miles of White Creek in the Gila Wilderness; nine miles of Costilla Creek above Costilla Reservoir, on Vermejo Park Ranch; seven miles of South Ponil Creek on Philmont Boy Scout Ranch; and 11/2 miles of Poso Creek on a ranch owned by the Jicarilla Apache Tribe. Fisheries managers propose to drip antimycin A into the streams, which they say were once solely occupied by the Gila and Rio Grande cutthroat trout, both native to New Mexico. All four sections have been poisoned before, but still retain some non-native fish that would outcompete or pollute the genetic stock of native species. Antimycin is absorbed through the gills of fish, namely brook trout and rainbow hybrids, and interferes with their breathing. The antibiotic is harmful to humans in extremely concentrated doses but used against fish, it typically is highly diluted. The state Water Quality Control Commission has asked the state Game and fish Department to first hold public hearings on the releases.

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