VOLUNTEERING

On a late summer date several years ago I joined a group of TU volunteers and a biologist from the New Mexico Environment Department at the upper campground on the Rio Santa Barbara.  We were there to survey the trout population in the stream to see if it was worthy of being designated as New Mexico's first outstanding national resource water.  We had the place to ourselves.  

After the biologist measured off a 100 meters of stream, we set to work. Some of us used electro-shocking equipment to stun the fish while others netted them.  The biologist measured the fish and a TU volunteer entered the measurements and species of the trout. We collected 200 trout, about 40% hatchery rainbows and the rest split between wild browns and native Rio Grande cutthroats.  The fish ranged from young of the year trout to browns up to 14 inches.  An early afternoon thunderstorm ended our survey halfway through the second pass.  It had been a very good day.

Over the coming year, there will be opportunities for TU members to work on restoration projects throughout New Mexico, from Comanche Creek in the northeast to Black Canyon and other Gila trout streams in the southwest part of the state.  We'll post notice of these volunteer opportunities on the Truchas Chapter's website and Facebook page. Volunteering is a great way to see some new waters, get to know other TU members, and give something back to the resource that gives us so much pleasure.  

 

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