Effects of high flow experiments on warm-water native and nonnative fishes




The harsh environmental conditions and extreme flooding that created Grand Canyon also shaped the unique native fish that evolved in the Colorado River. Native fish have evolved their physiology, morphology and behavior to withstand high flood events. Flooding has been shown to benefit spawning, survival and recruitment of juvenile native fishes in many southwestern rivers. Annual pre-dam flooding on the Colorado River was sometimes more than double the flows released during a typical High-Flow Experiment (HFE). It is therefore unlikely that the 3-4 days of high flow created by HFEs will have negative impacts on native fish directly. However, HFEs can cause dispersal of flood adapted non-native species like green sunfish that utilize floods to invade and colonize new environments. Continued efforts to reduce known populations of green sunfish that inhabit backwater ponds before conducting HFEs may be necessary to reduce risks of spreading invasive green sunfish downstream.

Study Area

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Effects of high flow experiments on warm-water native and nonnative fishes
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher US Bureau of Reclamation Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 4 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title High-Flow Experiments Assessment Extended Abstracts
First page 38
Last page 41
Conference Title Adaptive Management Work Group Meeting
Conference Location Tempe, AZ
Conference Date March 6-7, 2019
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Colorado River, Grand Canyon
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