Greenbacks Discovered - DNA Study
Section divider type: wavesOpacity -- position: bottom
Until the publication of the scientific study in 2012 the then current thinking was that there were four lineages of Cutthroat Trout originally in Colorado at the time European settlers began to arrive.
These lineages were: Colorado River Cutthroat, Greenback Cutthroat, Rio Grande Cutthroat and the Yellowfin Cutthroat. It was further thought that these trout lineages resided in streams of the Western Slope, South Platte, Rio Grande and Arkansas Rivers.
In 1937 it was declared that the Greenback Cutthroat lineage was extinct.
In 1964 a population of what was thought were Greenback Cutthroat Trout were discovered in some of the ponds of Fort Carson, outside Colorado Springs.
These trout were moved to hatcheries and raised for distribution into other streams as part of the recovery project.
In 1974, the Greenbacks were on the first class of species listed under the Endangered Species Act as Endangered. Due to the work of CPW Greenbacks later were down listed as Threatened under the Act
In about 1996 it was determined through a new technique of DNA sequencing that these trout were actually hybridized Greenbacks with Rainbow DNA.
Other populations of Greenbacks by this time had been identified in Trappers Lake so these were then used in the recovery project and considered the standard for comparative purposes against which all other samples were analyzed.
The question arose: What is a Cutthroat Trout and What is a Greenback Cutthroat Trout?
In a study commissioned and published in 2007 only added to the confusion as Greenbacks were discovered in many locations on the Western Slope and many populations of Colorado River Cutthroat Trout were identified in Front Range streams.
In an attempt to clarify these confusing finding the 2012 study was commissioned. PPCTU contributed $9000.00 toward this study.
This study identified six lineages originally native to Colorado. It also identified that there was only one population of Greenbacks in existence and those resided in Bear Creek, just outside Colorado Springs.