Gore Creek aquatic insect populations on decline

 

A creekside cabin on Gore Creek.

 

Vail Daily reminds us that putting an interstate right next to a beautiful trout stream might not be such a good idea after all. A while ago we rented a cabin in West Vail right along Gore Creek, see above. At the time I had never waved a fly rod, but it sure did light the fire in me when I sat out on that balcony  and watched the melt water gurgle past. It is a stream worth saving and hopefully they can find the cause of the degradation.More info below.

VAIL, Colorado — Something is hurting the tiny bugs in Gore Creek, but researchers aren’t sure what.

A recent study revealed certain bugs are disappearing in the East Vail stretch of the stream.

The bugs present in low numbers — certain mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies — are especially sensitive to the effects of urbanization, said David Rees, a bug expert processing the study data.

And their absence is a sign that something is damaging this popular trout-fishing stream, which runs through a tourist town that prides itself on its natural beauty.

“A large portion of our economy depends on this perception that this is a pristine area,” said Lin Brooks, assistant general manager for the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District.

The water district discovered the bug problem while studying the creek and nearby Eagle River. Brooks said the bug trouble was most noticeable east of Vail.

“It seems like there is so much natural land around here and to have what appear to be urban impacts on Gore Creek, in East Vail where it’s not even that urban, just really surprised us,” she said.

Something has been causing a change in the stream’s macroinvertebrates, the tiny bugs that live in the rocks, Rees said. There are fewer types of bugs overall than one expects to see in a mountain stream, Rees said.

While some bugs are dwindling, others are more plentiful then normal, he said. Midges and worms, which are less sensitive to environmental stress, are abundant.

“Whenever we see this change in the composition, it’s an indication there’s stress,” he said.


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