Fish and Wildlife to introduce ‘mosquito eater’ topminnow at Mission Garden canal

Second major project involving water

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service will introduce about 200 Gila topminnow into a canal at the Mission Garden on Thursday morning at 8.

The topminnow, which is about two inches long, is a notorious consumer of mosquito larvae, as are many small fish. It once flourished in Southern Arizona before being put on the endangered list in 1967.

The preservation project is the second water project introduced in downtown Tucson in four days.

Tucson Water began releasing 2.8 million gallons into the Santa Cruz on Monday, as part of a daily plan. It’s the first continuous flow in the river since it stopped because of over pumping in the 1940′s.

The water is treated wastewater, not recommended for drinking, but wading in the water is okay.

By Wednesday, water in the river had begin to pool just north of the Congress Street bridge. Frogs were seen mating. New life.

“Seeing more native wildlife in this region of the river will be awesome," said Doug Duncan, a fish biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service.

Duncan will introduce the topminnow into the canal at Mission Garden.

“The Gila topminnow are very good at eating mosquito larvae,” he said. “So that’s one of the uses we are looking to do with the Gila tominnow.”

For the folks at Mission Garden, it’s just an extension of its preservation efforts.

“The addition of the topminnow is just another step in bringing back the burgeoning life, living things that we had before,” said Kendall Kroesen, the Community Outreach Director for Mission Garden.

The two water preservation projects this week along the Santa Cruz which had been neglected for the past century, is a big step.

“Seeing it back in a city that originally dried the river from groundwater pumping and has made the effort to put in back in the river is just amazing and incredible,” said Duncan.

And for some it shows that Tucson’s future is about preserving its past.

“Tucson is at once a growing, vibrant city that wants to maximize its growth and commercial vitality,” said Kroesen. “But it has, at the same time, this strong undercurrent, let’s not forget how it was before, let’s not forget where we came from.”

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