The river’s waters are warming to levels that threaten the livelihood of prized fish and the valuable tourism industry.
Arizona, USA – The drought of the southwestern desert is causing ripple effects everywhere, including Colorado River. The river’s waters are warming to levels that threaten the livelihood of prized fish and the valuable tourism industry.
Rainbow trout fishing is a national lottery
“It’s our office, our home, and the place where we spend time with the people we care about and love to fish with,” Trimble said.
Trout fishing with flies attracts tourists from all over the country and maintains a small collection of fishing guides such as Trimble.
But conditions change on the river and threaten the existence of trout.
“It’s definitely one of the best fisheries in Arizona, and to see it go away is heartbreaking, to say the least,” Trimble said.
Water levels are historically low It means that the water flowing through the dam is getting warmer every week. Temperatures are usually in the high 40s and lows in the 50s. The water temperature last week was 64 degrees.
“Sixty-four fun people,” said Scott Rogers, director of the Arizona Aquatic Wildlife Division in the Northern Arizona District.
At 68 degrees and above, trout become lethargic and prone to death. Larger trout are particularly vulnerable.
Rogers said temperatures are expected to reach 69 or 70 degrees at Les Ferry this month.
“It’s a problem. We’ve been aware of that for a long time. We’re working with other agencies to do everything we can to try to mitigate what seems to be coming,” Rogers said.
Why is cold temperature important
The US Geological Survey is conducting surveys to determine how warm waters are affecting the food supply of fish.
Other Effects of Warmer River Water
However, warmer waters also allow non-native bass and catfish to thrive. They can eat other fish and threaten native species.
“It’s hard to put that genie back in the bottle,” Rogers said.
Before the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam in the early 1960s, the water flowing through the Grand Canyon was as high as 85 degrees in summer. Rainbow trout was introduced into the Colorado River after the dam was built because the water was very cold throughout the year.
Good and evil in warm water
“This is a critical fishery and one of the most important fisheries we have in the state and it will be a huge loss,” Rogers said.
When the temperature increase reached 59 degrees, there was a possible increase in humpback chub and other native fish populations in the Grand Canyon, according to the Department of the Interior.
However, the constant rise in temperature increases the risk of non-native cold/warm water fish such as brown trout, green sunfish, sea bass and walleye “which could have a devastating effect on the humpback chub populations in the Grand Canyon” , according to the Ministry of the Interior.