BREAKING NEWS Arrested suspect identified in Red Bluff murder case Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Gridley City Administrator resigns after Council's closed session Full Story
SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch View Alerts

A wildfire killed 80% of fish in a Colorado river

The fish population in the Animas River in southwest Colorado has suffered a massive loss following a wildfire from June 2018: It's down about 80%.Tha...

Posted: Sep 24, 2019 8:17 AM

The fish population in the Animas River in southwest Colorado has suffered a massive loss following a wildfire from June 2018: It's down about 80%.

That's the assessment of the Colorado Parks & Wildlife, which conducted a full-scale survey last week to get a picture of how much the river was affected by the 416 Fire.

The wildfire scorched an estimated 54,000 acres of land in the Hermosa Creek watershed. Following the fire, heavy rain hit the region -- and that led to a runoff filled with ash that suffocated fish in the river.

The survey showed there were just 28 pounds of trout per acre -- a sizable drop off from the historical average of 78 pounds per acre.

There was also only one 14-inch fish found per acre, which is down from the historical average of 22 per acre.

There's some good news though

However, despite the significant drop off, there are some promising signs.

Heavy snow during the winter led to a sustained runoff in the spring and summer that cleaned the river bottom, which is home to a lot of fish and the food they eat. There was also a record number of native bluehead suckers that were caught, which more than quadrupled the numbers reported in 2016.

While the portion of the Animas River that was designated as a Gold Medal fishery -- a designation awarded to creeks and rivers that provide great fishing opportunities -- won't lose its gold medal designation, it will be a few years before it returns to that status.

"The river will not lose it's gold medal designation. That is a long process that requires several years of data collection," CPW official Joe Lewandowski tells CNN.

In order to get the Animas River back to Gold Medal status, CPW will continue to have to stock the river with fish.

As trout are unable to reproduce naturally in the Animas river since there are old mines that drain heavy metals into the water upstream, fish are raised in a local hatchery and used to stock the river, according to CPW.

An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 fish are added every year.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 886939

Reported Deaths: 17167
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2904866944
Riverside650561275
San Bernardino609451065
Orange576351423
San Diego53263863
Kern33551413
Fresno30220430
Sacramento24811474
Santa Clara23591382
Alameda22932435
San Joaquin21436484
Contra Costa18273238
Stanislaus17403394
Tulare17317279
Ventura13930160
Imperial12610336
San Francisco11969137
Monterey1115884
San Mateo10918157
Santa Barbara9671119
Merced9386153
Sonoma9016134
Kings817383
Solano720574
Marin7036127
Madera492873
San Luis Obispo408032
Placer402355
Yolo309958
Butte302651
Santa Cruz272524
Napa190814
Sutter182112
Shasta178629
San Benito141114
El Dorado13024
Yuba128010
Mendocino111121
Tehama7938
Lassen7611
Lake67815
Glenn6473
Nevada5988
Humboldt5609
Colusa5486
Calaveras33917
Amador31316
Tuolumne2574
Inyo21815
Siskiyou1860
Del Norte1751
Mono1752
Mariposa782
Plumas610
Modoc270
Trinity250
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Chico
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 75°
Oroville
Scattered Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 76°
Paradise
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 75°
Chester
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 49°
Red Bluff
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 75°
Willows
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 75°
Very strong winds and dry conditions are driving critical fire danger today. A Red Flag Warning for high fire danger, a Wind Advisory, and a Freeze Warning are all in effect for the start of your Thursday.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events