Artificial whitewater: good for paddlers, bad for fish

May 10, 2015

Whitewater courses for kayakers have become popular in parts of Colorado. But it turns out they may be a problem for fish, according to data collected by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Now, park designers are working with the state to find ways to make life easier for the fish.

The water velocity in some of the artificial rapids can exceed the swimming capacity of fish, and inhibits their ability to travel upstream.

“You can imagine if you were a fish,” said Jim White, an aquatic biologist. “It would be much like you sticking your head out of the car at 60 mph. That’s a big waste of energy for the fish.”