Progress Status for the Alvord Phenotypes of Guano Creek

As usual, for this time of year — we’ve lived the habit of “building the evenings a little bit too close to the mornings.”  Between berries, fruit and cherries to pick and dry, summer fish to smoke, and a plethora of jungle to thin in the back yard — it just seems that there are more things to get done, than there is time to get them done . . .


Good news is that we’ve heard that there are eyed out eggs and smolt from a fledgling pair of trout bearing the phenotype of the Alvord cutthroat; the adults taken from Guano Creek and spawned in a hatchery facility here in SE Oregon!

The numbers are daunting, and the genetic pool at this point is quite likely very limited, but; it is progress — and it is a start for what we hope will become a fledgling population of ‘little Alvords’ waiting to reestablish themselves in waters that their forbearers inhabited.

A few pictures of the “parents” were sent to us from Shannon Hurn — and we can’t wait to see the “little guys” (and gals); and we do so hope that the State of Oregon is indeed able to “resurrect” this extinct, but beautiful, strain of desert cutthroat trout.

Here’s a picture of the one and only female they were able to secure  this spring . . . :

Primary Female Alvord Phenotype for Klamath Hatchery

This looks, to us, to be a near optimal specimen based on spotting and coloration . . .

In addition, there were a couple of males that were utilized to give some genetic diversity:

Primary Male Alvord Phenotype for Klamath Hatchery

Secondary Male Alvord Phenotype for Klamath Hatchery

Of the 350 to 400 smolt in the hatchery — the plan is to test about 60 for pathogens, or pathogenic concerns, which, providing that their overall health is respectable, this would yield roughly 300 trout to rear toward adulthood!

Additionally, we were on the system in mid-June, and we hope to be there over the Fourth of July weekend.  We were blessed with some unique trout (among many many dozens of what are almost certainly trout of Humboldt extraction).

This one was, perhaps, the optimal Alvord Phenotype of this trip: and he had just spawned!

Alvord Phenotype1

Alvord Phenotype2

Pretty typical alvordensis spotting, with brassy/bronze sides, and in this case; dark post-spawning coloration . . .  Though this one is a beauty, and would probably be a good one to pass on his genetics for future generations!

We’ll look forward to adding more detail as it becomes available; and we look forward to seeing the “little buggers” in the hatchery environment soon!

In the meantime — please feel free to continue to encourage and inspire Shannon Hurn to “keep up the good work” and to have the determination to continue in the effort, even if it takes more than just one or two spawning seasons to get the job done . . .  Resurrecting an extinct species is not a job for the passive or weak hearted!

Please help further the cause, by taking up pen (or keyboard) and writing Shannon a note of thanks, and also inquiring about any ways that we can be of assistance for her or ODFW during the course of this project.  Please give encouragement and show appreciation:

Shannon M. Hurn

District Fish Biologist

Malheur Watershed District

237 Highway 20 South, P.O. Box 8

Hines, OR 97738

We hope to have additional news and detail soon!

© KOD June 2013

About kortumofdiscovery

Kortum of Discovery (a slight play on Lewis & Clark's Corps of Discovery) is a family team that is Affirming the Exceptional Beauty of Nature, one Adventure at a Time. With a focus toward rare and endangered species in the Great Basin and American west: discoveries, unique methodologies, and many “tall tales to tell” are continually being shared around the campfire!
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4 Responses to Progress Status for the Alvord Phenotypes of Guano Creek

  1. Wayne Smith says:

    Thanks, David (and Carmela, is she is close :-). I appreciate the updates. Wish I were closer so I could participate a bit more, but Colombia is a bit far off. So I appreciate the progress by proxy. Hang in there.

    I don’t have a good way of getting snail mail to the US, but if you are talking to Shannon in these days, tell her that someone is even cheering her on from as far away as South America. 🙂

    Un abrazo.

    Wayne S

  2. Joe DiSilvestro says:

    Thomas E. Dowling and Michael R. Childs would be proud of these efforts by ODFW. Their 1991 paper “Impact of Hybridization on a Threatened trout of the Southwestern United States” concluded that extreme care must be exercised when considering (or allowing) elimination of any contaminated population lest the unique genetic identity of the native taxon be lost forever.

  3. Patrick Sievert says:

    Excellent news.

  4. Bob calamusso says:

    Wonderful fish !

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