05 June 2013

Not your average Chub

News flash from the LA Times via E & E News:

Grand Canyon fish rebounds Juvenile humpback chub

Endangered humpback chubs have been found spawning in Havasu Creek in Grand Canyon National Park, NPS biologists said.
The humpback chub, which has a pronounced hump behind its head, is indigenous to the Colorado River Basin. The discovery marks the first time the fish were found reproducing in the creek, where scientists have been working to introduce a chub population.
During a monitoring trip two weeks ago, researchers for the first time used ultrasound imaging equipment to determine whether female humpback chubs were developing eggs. The technology allowed researchers to avoid dissecting the fish to determine whether they were spawning.
Changes in seasonal flows in the Colorado River Basin, as well as invasive species, have threatened the once-prevalent fish (Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times, June 3). -- WW

In November I made my first trip down the Colorado's Grand, floating over big bows  for the first few days, where management has done a great job at building a robust population and sport industry.  Further down stream the trout taper off and you enter Humpback Chub territory (not technically territory but habitat).

SUPing up the Little Colorado
Below is the Little Colorado River, not surprisingly the location of many creation stories, and aptly the heart of the Humpback population.  While on the river in Nov. USGS conducted a high flow experiment (done every 4 years) with the goal of redistributing sediment throughout the river, simulating natural flooding, and reviving habitat.  It looks like they found one positive marker for the flood.  Lava Falls at 35,000+ cfs was another story.

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