Last week, Wildfires in Colorado killed thousands of fish–and no these fish were not burned alive. As wildfires ripped through more than 50,000 acres, southwestern Colorado’s landscape turned to ash and charred vegetation. Then the worst case scenario happened–torrential rain storms hit the region, leaving the Colorado River Valley with a big problem. All of this rainwater drained into the Animas River collecting the wildfire’s remnants of ash and debris. The river is flowing with a significantly above average level of suspended materials, which has had devastating effects on the river’s water quality and, subsequently, the river’s fish populations.
Local reports have indicated significant numbers of rainbow and brown trout are suffocating to death, due to the Animas River’s poor water quality. Researchers said the clarity of the water is so poor that they may need to wait months before they can fully understand the severity of the wildfire-runoff.
For more on the effects of wildfire-runoff within the Colorado River basin, check out this Colorado Parks & Wildlife News Release.
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