Volunteers needed to monitor temperatures of Aspen-area streams | AspenTimes.com

Volunteers needed to monitor temperatures of Aspen-area streams

Staff report

For the second time in six years, Roaring Fork Conservancy is calling on volunteers to help monitor rivers and streams for water conditions too hot for trout to handle.

The conservancy's resurrected its Hot Spots for Trout program this week. Volunteers are needed to take water temperatures and enter the data into a public database via computer or smart phone.

The program launched in 2012 as well. At that time, 14 spots were identified for monitoring. The conservancy shared the data with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, which can implement restrictions or closures of fisheries if conditions warrant.

This year, the conservancy is collecting data on any river or stream.

"Data points collected in the Roaring Fork, Crystal and Fryingpan Rivers are especially encouraged as we can compared them to historical data," said a statement from the Basalt-based nonprofit, which was formed in 1996.

Streamflows peaked early and much lower than usual this year because of below average snowpack. Warm and dry conditions have exacerbated the situation.

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"With low flows throughout the Roaring Fork watershed, stream temperatures are likely to increase, which can negatively impact aquatic organisms and increase angling-related fish mortality," the conservancy's statement said.

"Once areas of concern are identified, RFC can advocate for and implement best management practices to protect these vital ecosystems and our world-famous fishing waters," the statement continued.

Anyone living or visiting the area is invited to participate. Volunteers can collect a thermometer and instructions from Roaring Fork Conservancy. For more on Hot Spots for Trout go to http://www.CitSci.org.