See the inhabitants of the Rio Grande a century ago, alongside the inhabitants of our modern-day Great River. This exhibit underscores the diminishing diversity and loss of species in the Rio Grande watershed.
Just inside the aquarium entrance, the Rio Grande at Central Bridge exhibit features two tanks.
The first displays fish now found in the Albuquerque reach of the Rio Grande, the second features fish that inhabited those waters a century ago.
This exhibit underscores the diminishing diversity and loss of species in the Rio Grande watershed. The exhibit design inventively weaves historical and modern elements using a road travel theme complete with a 1950 Hudson parked on a bridge backed by a mural of the historical Albuquerque skyline.
Rio Grande Historical
These fishes are no longer found in the Rio Grande near Albuquerque.
Evidence that they were here comes from several sources. Their bones have been found among the ruins of Indian Pueblos in the Albuquerque area. Other accounts come from written descriptions by Spanish explorers and later from actual scientific collections made by early biologists.
A total of 13 species have vanished from the Rio Grande, including two fishes that are now extinct — the Rio Grande bluntnose shiner and the Phantom shiner. They had all disappeared from the river by the 1960s.
The Rio Grande silvery minnow may be the next to go.
Rio Grande Today
After hundreds of years of human settlement, the Rio Grande is a changed river. Dams, levees, reservoirs and other flood control measures have altered the river. Water has been diverted for agriculture, and overgrazing of livestock has caused erosion and siltation.
Much of the river is dry for extensive periods. Many new species of fish have been introduced, out-competing the native species.