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Many Trout Face Extinction Due To Climate Change, Pollution

A new study published in Science magazine found that many of the world’s trout species are facing extinction due to climate change, overfishing and pollution.

Trout are finicky creatures. They need cool, clean water.

But streams and rivers around the world are getting dirtier and warmer.  

This is bad news for trout.

“You start to layer on these stressors and things tend to look more grim,” Dan Dauwalter, a scientist with Trout Unlimited in Boise, Idaho, said.

He helped author the study. It found that 73 percent of trout species surveyed worldwide were facing extinction due to the changing climate and more pollution.

Here in the Mountain West, native cutthroat trout are also losing habitat to non-native lake trout. They turned up in the area as early as the 1890’s.

“Lake trout are really long lived,” he said. “They’re top level predators and they have a big impact on trout populations when they’re introduced.”

But there is a sliver of good news.

Dauwalter said native trout in colder places like Montana, Idaho and Wyoming are doing better than those closer to the equator.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

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