Low streamflows are endangering the survival of the Rio Grande River cutthroat trout #COdrought


From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):

Some of southern Colorado’s Rio Grande cutthroat trout are likely living on the edge of the climate cliff and will have a hard time surviving as global temperatures rise.

Flows are already very low in many streams where the rare fish live, so even a small change in flow could push some populations into the abyss. The long-term global warming forecast by most climate models could render many mainstem, connecting habitats unsuitable for the fish, which survive best in a narrow temperature range, according to a new study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists.

Rio Grande cutthroat trout now live in only about 12 percent of its historical habitat, as non-native fish introductions, water diversions and other impacts degraded the species’ habitat in the past few decades. Most of the sampled streams with Rio Grande cutthroat trout have base flows of less than 1 cubic foot per second, making them vulnerable to drought.

More endangered/threatened species coverage here.

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