Nevada is taking drastic measures to keep wildlife alive.
The state Department of Wildlife assembled a team of rescuers on Tuesday to pull fish out of water-filled ditches in Reno that are expected to dry up amid the devastating drought.
A 25-person team — made up of department officials and volunteers — used nets to scoop up the imperiled creatures, which included rainbow trout, whitefish, and minnows.
“We’re trying to make sure the fish in there get a second chance,” department spokesman Chris Healy told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “Nobody likes to see a natural resource go to waste. We would have seen a lot of fish go to waste.”
After pulling the fish from the steadily shrinking pools of water, the team loaded them into massive fish tanks hauled by a fleet of trucks. Most of the roughly 3,000 fish saved this week will be released into the nearby Truckee River.
In recent weeks, local water authorities diverted the flow of water into the ditches from the river, which has slowed to a trickle in some areas as a result of persistent water shortages.
The American Southwest is suffering through a 14-year drought that has wreaked havoc on rivers, lakes, and streams.
Nevada has been particularly hard-hit. Last month, the water in Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the country, dropped to its lowest level seen since it was first filled in the 1930s.