“Total Mortality”: Trout in Colorado’s Lower Dolores River Are Doomed

Dolores River Rig To Flip
Dolores River Rig To Flip

Featured image from RigtoFlip.org

It is not a good summer to be a trout in the lower 12 miles of the Dolores River near Durango, Colorado. As the American West continues to face a horrific drought, trout like those in the Dolores are facing certain death. Flows in the river are currently 10 times less than their typical mid-summer flows, leaving the river’s inhabitants high and dry.

The Dolores River is a catch-and-release tailwater that flows from McPhee Reservoir, and with little to no water entering the impoundment, flows below the dam have been abysmally low. So low, in fact, that the lower half of the river will be relatively dry, dooming the tailwater’s fish population.

“The stream is flowing anywhere between 5 and 9 CFS,” remarked Jim White, an aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). “Typical flows are around 70 CFS or higher.”

To learn more about the issue, check out this article from Field & Stream.

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