US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District

Searching for the Elusive, Endangered Silvery Minnow

Public Affairs
Published Oct. 31, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., -- District Commander Lt. Col. Patrick Dagon, far right, and Maj. Jason Melchior look on as fish are counted, Oct. 20, 2014.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., -- District Commander Lt. Col. Patrick Dagon, far right, and Maj. Jason Melchior look on as fish are counted, Oct. 20, 2014.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., -- A wild-born Rio Grande silvery minnow.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., -- A wild-born Rio Grande silvery minnow.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., -- A silvery minnow waits to be returned to the river after being counted and measured by the District team. This minnow was found at a different site from where the District team was working Oct. 20.  The yellow mark on its back indicates that it is a hatchery-born minnow that was later released into the Rio Grande.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., -- A silvery minnow waits to be returned to the river after being counted and measured by the District team. This minnow was found at a different site from where the District team was working Oct. 20. The yellow mark on its back indicates that it is a hatchery-born minnow that was later released into the Rio Grande.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., -- District Commander Lt. Col. Patrick Dagon and Maj. Jason Melchior, deputy district commander, joined other District employees and SWCA Environmental Consultants in their search for silvery minnow. On Oct. 20, 2014, they visited the Rio Grande Nature Center, one of the restoration sites the District is monitoring along the Rio Grande.

In May, the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Drinking Water Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation provided water for a spring runoff pulse to create environmental conditions for silvery minnow spawning. The count conducted recently is part of the District’s efforts of continual monitoring of the Rio Grande Habitat Restoration sites “to evaluate the response of the fish community to restoring flood plain connectivity,” said Michael Porter, a fishery biologist with the District. How much of the spring runoff moved into the floodplain areas where the silvery minnow spawns? How well did the fish reproduce?

Every fish was counted and measured, regardless of species. On this particular day no silvery minnows were observed, although the District team had more success in August and September.

The day in the field provided the District’s leaders the opportunity to see “what the District is doing in monitoring habitat sites and how we’re trying to improve habitat on the Rio Grande,” said Porter.