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Rangers seek to ID woman filmed swimming in home of endangered fish

Federal rangers are seeking the public’s help in identifying a woman who they say was videotaped swimming with kids in the Rogers Spring of Nye County, which is home to the endangered Ash Meadows Amargosa pupfish and the Ash Meadows speckled dace.

The fish can be found only in the area of the Amargosa River Basin in southern Nye County, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Yet, a post from the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge said a woman and a group of youths “were caught swimming in the Rogers Spring in the past two weeks” in an area where “no swimming” signs are posted. A camera in the area recorded an image of the woman.

“The party in question later discovered and broke the camera, but were unable to recover the SD card,” the wildlife refuge said on its Facebook page.

The refuge said swimming in the spring could harm the fish.

“By swimming in the springs, it is possible to harm the fish directly by killing them (stepping on them, splashing them out of the spring, etc.),” the wildlife refuge said on its Facebook page. “More importantly, they can be harmed indirectly through trampling the algae and substrates needed for the fish to forage, breed, and hide. The algae is where the fish eggs are deposited, so crushing these eggs could also have an impact.”

The refuge said that further damage to the fish could be caused by “kicking up the substrate,” causing more silt to enter the system and “affect installed fish barriers if not caught in time.”

“Furthermore, swimming in springs introduces chemicals such as sunscreen, skin lotion etc,” the wildlife refuge said. “These can be harmful to the native fish, spring snails, and other species present in the system. Swimming in springs can also affect the biosecurity of the system by inadvertently introducing invasive species or pathogens.”

Anyone who knows who the woman is is asked to contact Rob Peloquin by email at robert_peloquin@fws.gov or at 702-283-8136.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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