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Drought, River Fragmentation Forcing Endangered Fish out of Water, Biologist Finds
June 6, 2013 — A Kansas State University researcher is discovering that the North American drought has caused dramatic changes in native fish communities.”A couple of key species that we have been studying have virtually disappeared where they historically were abundant,” said Keith Gido, professor of biology who researches fish ecology and conservation of aquatic systems.
Gido and his team study state and federal endangered and threatened fish species in river ecosystems, including the Arkansas, Kansas, Gila, San Juan, Red and Platte rivers. He travels to these different rivers to study imperiled species such as the Colorado pikeminnow, the loach minnow, the spikedace in New Mexico and the plains minnow and silver chub in Kansas.
Before the drought, Gido’s team observed more than 300 silver chub in the Ninnescah River in southern Kansas in summer 2011. In 2012, after the second consecutive year of severe drought, his team saw three silver chub during their sampling. They found zero silver chub in spring 2013.