A drying river–and lots of dead fish

A silvery minnow gets plucked from a pool. Photo by Laura Paskus/KUNM

Tonight on KUMN, we’ll be airing a story about my visit with a crew of biologists earlier this week as they surveyed the dry Rio Grande near Los Lunas and searched for endangered silvery minnows.

You can listen to the radio this evening or tomorrow morning, or else catch the story online on KUNM.org on Friday.

Standing in the dry riverbed was a disconcerting experience, and so was watching thousands of fish die as the small pools they were hanging out in warmed and dried into mud. The biologists can only rescue the silvery minnows. The carp, catfish, mosquito fish, red shiners, and others just end up dying. (Sure, that’s good news for all the coyotes, snowy egrets, and herons on the river…)

Here are a few unlucky fish whose pools had already disappeared:

And here, biologists have just used a seine net to pull fish from a pool. They’re sorting through the fish, searching for silvery minnows.

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One thought on “A drying river–and lots of dead fish

  1. It’s clear that the state agencies responsible for protecting the public waters, fish and wildlife, and recreational resources are not doing their job. Protected flows should be established and enforced to protect public water resources. This means determining the minimum acceptable instream flow for all stream reaches and terminating withdrawals of water allowed by appropriation permits when stream conditions dictate. The silty and drying river conditions depicted demonstrate the consequences of allowing a minority number of agricultural producers to subvert the general public welfare and environmental integrity.

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