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USBR announces plan for smallmouth bass

A fat green fish floating in water
National Park Service
Smallmouth bass

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Thursday its plan for dealing with nonnative smallmouth bass in the Colorado River. The agency wants to release cool water from Glen Canyon Dam to disrupt the fish’s life cycle.

Smallmouth bass began to rapidly establish below the dam in the Grand Canyon two years ago. They’re a predatory fish that endanger the federally threatened humpback chub.

The Bureau of Reclamation examined several options for dam releases and has now indicated its support for a plan that cools the river to inhibit the bass’s ability to lay eggs.

Environmental groups voiced support for that option during public comment, but also asked for a broader range of choices, such as adding screens to the dam intakes.

And hydropower users including the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority expressed concerns about how the proposed dam releases might affect hydropower production.

Reclamation’s announcement starts a 30-day public comment period before the agency makes a final decision.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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