Thousands of fish reported dead in Glenwood Canyon area
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Thousands of fish, already stressed by low flows and warm water temperatures, likely died Tuesday night when heavy monsoon rains sent tons of debris and sediment into the Colorado River above Dotsero.
Workers at the Shoshone Hydroelectric Power plant first reported seeing dead fish near the plant on Wednesday. By early Friday morning, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials reported thousands of dead fish along the river.
“I have never seen the river this full of debris,” said parks and wildlife area manager Perry Will.
“Many of the fish we inspected had fine silt on their gills,” said Kendall Bakich, aquatic biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Glenwood Springs. “At this point, we believe that this is what led to the mortality, but we are continuing to investigate.”
Wildlife officials say that some dead fish will continue to travel down river and may be visible to anyone traveling along the river; however, they advise that the fish all died several days ago and they do not expect continued fish mortality.
Most of the fish that were killed were both native and non-native suckers, along with a few trout. According to Bakich, suckers are more susceptible to heavy debris and sediment in the water because they are bottom dwellers.