Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
Determining the population status of endangered Humpback Chub Gila cypha is a major component of the adaptive management program designed to inform operation of Glen Canyon Dam upstream from Grand Canyon, Arizona. In recent decades, resource managers have identified a portfolio of management actions (with intermittent implementation) to promote population recovery of Humpback Chub, including nonnative fish removal, changes in water release volumes and discharge ramping schedules, and reductions in hydropower peaking operations. The Humpback Chub population in Grand Canyon has increased over this same period, causal factors for which are unclear. We took advantage of unusual hydrology in the Colorado River basin in 2011 to assess trends in juvenile Humpback Chub length–weight relationships and condition in the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam as well as in the unregulated Little Colorado River. Within each river, we observed higher length–weight b-parameter estimates (exponent of the standard power equation) at higher water temperatures. We also found higher slope estimates for the length–weight relationship at higher temperatures in the Little Colorado River. Slope estimates were more variable in the Colorado River, where mean water temperatures were more uniform. The next step is to examine whether Humpback Chub length–weight relationships influence population metrics such as abundance or survival. If these relationships exist, then monitoring condition in juvenile Humpback Chub would provide a quick and low-cost technique for assessing population response to planned management experiments or changing environmental conditions.
Hayes, Forest P.; Dodrill, Michael J.; Gerig, Brandon S.; Finch, Colton; and Pine, William E. III, "Body Condition of Endangered Humpback Chub in Relation to Temperature and Discharge in the Lower Colorado River" (2017). Watershed Sciences Faculty Publications. Paper 996.