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ABQ BioPark Releases Silvery Minnows into Rio Grande

ABQ BioPark Releases Silvery Minnows into Rio Grande

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - The ABQ BioPark released 42,000 silvery minnows into the Rio Grande on November 29 and 30 to help ensure the continued survival of this species. The minnows were distributed evenly between the Albuquerque, Isleta and San Acacia reaches of the middle Rio Grande.

The BioPark has been part of the Rio Grande silvery minnow species recovery program since the year 2000. Each spring, staff from the BioPark’s Aquatic Conservation Facility (ACF) collect eggs from the river to hatch in tanks at the BioPark. They also breed additional minnows from previously collected broodstock.

In 2021, the ACF produced 101,850 eggs via captive spawning. An additional 9,820 naturally-spawned eggs were collected from the Rio Grande by BioPark staff.  

Silvery minnows are tagged before their release to allow the US Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor fish behavior and survival rates in different parts of the river.

“The ABQ BioPark is proud to be a part of this extraordinary 21-year effort to help the silvery minnow,” said Kathy Lang, aquatic conservation and operations manager, “The silvery minnow may be a small fish, but its status as an endangered species has a big impact on the Rio Grande.”

The silvery minnow, a 2 to 4 inch-long fish, was once one of the most common species in the Rio Grande, but by 1994 its numbers had declined low enough that it was added to the federal Endangered Species List. Since then, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has worked to implement a recovery plan, which includes breeding the minnow at facilities like the BioPark.