There was a time when scientists feared the demise of an ugly little fish called humpback chub, which has lived in southwestern rivers for millions of years. One of its last holdouts is in the Grand Canyon section of the Colorado River at a major tributary, the Little Colorado. Glen Canyon Dam took its toll on the little fish, and by the late 1990s, its population plummeted to a few thousand.
But these days, the humpback chub appears to be making a comeback.
The Colorado River is about to run wild again, at least a couple times a year. In May, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar approved a series of simulated floods -- releasing huge amounts of water and sediment from the Glen Canyon Dam over the next several years. It’s all part of a long-studied effort to restore the river environment downstream.
Five boats recently launched a two-week Grand Canyon river trip. The group of tourists paddled white-water rapids, hiked side canyons and camped at river’s edge.
The federal government ok’d two long-term research projects today on the Colorado River.
They will continue to release water from Glen Canyon Dam and attempt to boost native fish populations.
For almost 50 years the dam has blocked most of the sediment from the CoIorado River from flowing downstream. And that’s had an impact on native fish. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters that scientists can now release water from the dam to mimic natural floods on a regular basis. They will also try to remove non native predators from the river.