In the Yampa River, Extra Flow Makes for Happier Fish

Back in late June 2012, the Yampa River – a beautiful Colorado River tributary that runs through the heart of Steamboat Springs, Colorado – was flowing at 5 percent of normal.

Both the native whitefish population and the recreational trout fishery were threatened due to the river’s low levels of oxygen and its warmer temperatures.

Besides the risks to fish, the low flows had caused tubing and kayaking businesses to shut down, hurting the local economy.

That summer, Change the Course partnered with the Colorado Water Trust to execute a water lease to lift flows to healthier levels, helping save the fish and allowing river-based businesses to open up again.

Take a look at this 30-second video to see what a difference a little more flow can make.

Read the whole story here; watch the longer video here.

And if you’re not yet part of our Change the Course community – now 42,000 strong and growing – please join us.  Check out our website or text “River” to 77177.

Thanks to our sponsors, for every free pledge, we return 1,000 gallons to a depleted part of the Colorado River Basin.

Working together, we can change the course of our water future and create healthier rivers, happier fish, and a better planet.

Special thanks to Silk and Coca-Cola, Charter Sponsors for Change the Course. Additional funding generously provided by the Walton Family Foundation.

Sandra Postel directs the independent Global Water Policy Project and lectures, writes, and consults on international water issues. She is also Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, and serves as lead water expert for the Society's freshwater initiative. Sandra is the author of several acclaimed books, including the award-winning Last Oasis, the basis for a PBS documentary. Her essay "Troubled Waters" was selected for Best American Science and Nature Writing. Sandra is a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment, and has been named one of the "Scientific American 50" for her contributions to water policy.

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