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Many Trout Face Extinction Due To Climate Change, Pollution

National Park Service

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.

Copyright 2020 Yellowstone Public Radio. To see more, visit .

Nate Hegyi is the Utah reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, based at KUER. He covers federal land management agencies, indigenous issues, and the environment. Before arriving in Salt Lake City, Nate worked at Yellowstone Public Radio, Montana Public Radio, and was an intern with NPR's Morning Edition. He received a master's in journalism from the University of Montana.
Nate Hegyi
Nate Hegyi is a reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau based at Yellowstone Public Radio. He earned an M.A. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism in 2016 and interned at NPR’s Morning Edition in 2014. In a prior life, he toured around the country in a band, lived in Texas for a spell, and once tried unsuccessfully to fly fish. You can reach Nate at
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