Flows released from reservoirs are often modified to mitigate the negative ecosystem effects of dams. We estimated the effects of two experimental flows, fall-timed floods and elimination of sub-daily variation in flows on weekends, on growth rates of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Colorado River downstream from Glen Canyon Dam. Experimental flow effects were compared to effects of water temperature, phosphorous concentration, solar insolation, and competition, by fitting mixed effect von Bertalanffy models to ~ 10,000 observations of growth from mark-recapture between 2012 and 2021. There was strong support for models predicting faster growth during intervals with higher solar insolation, and lower water temperature and competition for prey. Effects of phosphorus and experimental flows were small and uncertain. Drought-related increases in dam release temperatures during summer and fall were predicted to result in severe weight loss for larger trout and could eventually threaten the viability of the population and the fishery it supports. The effects of water temperature and competition on fish growth substantially exceeded the effects of controlled floods and steadier flows.
|Title||Drought related changes in water quality surpass effects of experimental flows on trout growth downstream of Lake Powell reservoir|
|Authors||Josh Korman, Bridget Deemer, Charles Yackulic, Theodore Kennedy, Mariah Aurelia Giardina|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Southwest Biological Science Center|