Red Hills Desert Garden gives refuge to 500 little fish; Virgin spinedace protection

Virgin spinedace | Photo by James E. Johnson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; St. George News

ST. GEORGE – A 5-inch silvery minnow, or rather 500 of them, will be the focus of attention at a public gathering Friday at 2 p.m. at the Red Hills Desert Garden, 375 E. Red Hills Parkway in St. George, when the school of Virgin spinedace will be released into the garden’s streams in an effort to both preserve and enhance the species.

The Virgin spinedace, though not on the endangered species list, are being transplanted from Beaver Dam Wash as a protective measure. 

“The Red Hills Desert Garden stream will provide a refuge for spinedace that could be reintroduced into Beaver Dam Wash if there is an event that threatens their existence in the wild,” Henry Maddux, director of the Virgin River Program, said.  

Virgin spinedace are found only in the Virgin River Basin.

The species has been managed under a conservation agreement between local, state and federal agencies since 1995, according to a press release issued by the Washington County Water Conservancy District. Under the agreement, the species has been restored to more than 85 percent of its historical habitat. 

Ongoing efforts coordinated by the Virgin River Program and its partners include maintaining existing populations, the release said, re-establishing populations in historic habitat and creating conditions that allow the species to expand its range. 

Virgin spinedace, or Lepidomeda mollispinis mollispinis, gets its name from the sharp spiny rays in its dorsal fin, according to the Virgin River Program website. The fish looks, feeds, and behaves like a miniature trout.

Unlike the woundfin and chub, which live only in the Virgin River, spinedace are also found throughout many tributary streams. Virgin spinedace prefer deep pools and runs and are at home in both clear and turbid water.

Event details

  • What: Release of Virgin spinedace into streams at Red Hills Desert Garden
  • When: Friday, Sept. 11, 2 p.m.
  • Where:Red Hills Desert Garden, 375 E. Red Hills Parkway, St. George
  • Who: Public welcome to attend, participate


  • Virgin River Program website, or call 435-673-3617 for more information. 

 Related posts

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • Brian September 10, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Awesome, that’s only $2,000 per fish. I cringe every time I drive passed that park and the great and spacious building next to it. WCWCD sucks.

    • fun bag September 11, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      corrupt tax and spend republicans wasting money on ridiculous things (choo choo trains) but mormons are completely fine with it. Constantly whining about “liberal spending” in D.C. but completely fine with it here in good ol’ utah. Hey mormons, why the hypocrisy and double standards?

      • Dexter September 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm

        I just like to disagree with whatever BRIAN. says on purpose because he goes all bananas LOL.!!… he gets all bent out of shape when someone disagrees with him. and he starts going all coo coo for Cocoa Puffs… LOL.!

  • Dexter September 10, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Good idea I like the plan. kudos to all those involved. If you have to cringe whenever you drive by.. Here’s an idea for you. Take another direction while driving and you won’t have to cringe.

    • Brian September 11, 2015 at 11:12 am

      I know living in your Mom’s basement you don’t have to pay property taxes (or rent), but when it’s your money that’s taken (ultimately by force, since if you don’t pay it they take your house or put you in jail) each year, by unelected people with effectively zero oversight, and blown on massive projects (many of which waste water) at the same time they’re telling you their going to spend $2.5 BILLION (that’s $150k for my family) on a pipeline that they don’t want you to have a vote on, then maybe you’ll understand.

  • Dexter September 11, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    are you still cringing.? LOL.! Like I really care… I live in my mother’s attic. she doesn’t have a basement stupid.!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.