facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

U.S. drought said hitting native fish populations

June 6, 2013 at 4:43 PM   |   Comments

MANHATTAN, Kan., June 6 (UPI) -- Persistent drought in North America has caused "a conservation crisis" for native fish communities, a Kansas State University researcher reported.

Biology Professor Keith Gido and his team studied state and federal endangered and threatened fish species in river ecosystems including the Arkansas, Kansas, Gila, San Juan, Red and Platte rivers, a university release reported Thursday.

"A couple of key species that we have been studying have virtually disappeared where they historically were abundant," Gido said.

As an example he cited silver chub, noting that more than 300 were observed in the Ninnescah River in southern Kansas in summer 2011. After a second consecutive year of severe drought, his team saw three silver chub during their sampling in 2012.

Gido said they found zero silver chub in spring 2013.

"We are in a conservation crisis," he said. "Our fish communities have changed dramatically and we are losing a lot of native species."

Two activities -- river fragmentation and groundwater withdrawals -- have significant impact on aquatic systems and native fish species in the Great Plains, he said, and when combined with the drought result in dramatically reduced fish communities and lower species diversity.

River fragmentation occurs when barriers such as dams break up the long sections of connected river and create shorter segments.

"We have seen a gradual decline in native diversity over time," Gido said. "The drought exacerbates any of the effects because with fragmentation, if the stream is dry and the water is lower, the fish are unable to move around a barrier."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth Massive sunspot sending violent flares toward Earth
2
Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space
3
Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time
4
Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal
5
Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback