From The Pueblo Chieftain (Zach Hillstrom):
Less precipitation doesn’t only mean less water, it also means less food, less vegetation and less places for animals to hide, making wildlife especially vulnerable when drought conditions persist.
The lack of vegetation can pose some serious problems for the animals that call the region home, including many of its bird species,
according to Brian Dreher, a senior wildlife biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
“Essentially, when it’s dry, what we tend to see is that a lot of plants don’t appear, and plants are important for bug life and communities,” Dreher said. “So that’s obviously a food source for a lot of birds. Also, there’s just the lack of vegetation. If you’re a bird that nests on the ground, you can become more vulnerable because of the lack of vegetation around.”
Fortunately, Dreher said, the area’s wildlife are extremely adaptable, and even sparse events of precipitation can make a major difference in helping species rebound.
“These are dynamic systems that can respond quickly to rain, and wildlife can certainly adapt to the environment as it changes,” he detailed…
“Decreases in water levels oftentimes … reduce habitat,” said Paul Foutz, a native aquatic species biologist for CPW. “It can condense whatever is occupying that water body into a smaller volume of water, which can be impactful to things like water quality.”
While lower water levels can impact all of the region’s aquatic life, it is perhaps most detrimental to the fish who dwell in smaller bodies of water, such as those that live in small streams on the eastern plains.
Click on the graphic to read the paper from NOAA.