Re: NANFA-- Hoover Dam (was "website")

Christopher Scharpf (
Wed, 12 Jul 2000 23:02:37 -0400

Rob C. asked:

> In the 30's when Hoover Dam was constructed, do you know of ANY
>accounts that had ANYONE, warning about these ultimate problems???... Was
>there anyone, a naturalist or such that had enough foresight or vision to
>these problems?

Nope. Nobody care about biodiversity back then. In fact, the word didn't even
exist yet. Nature back then was something to be tamed and controlled. A mighty
river like the Colorado was deemed "worthless" unless it was generating
electricity or providing water for Las Vegas water fountains and desert golf

Sometimes, fish & game departments set out to INTENTIONALLY destroy native
fishes. One of the most infamous examples was the Green River poisoning in 1962.

Untold numbers of native Colorado River Basin fishes were killed when 715 km of
the Green River and its tributaries were poisoned in an effort to eradicate
"undesirable" nongame ("trash") fishes that might interfere with introduced
gamefishes in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which straddles the Wyoming-Utah

Unfortunately, the effects of the poison spread farther downstream than desired,
causing fish kills in the waters of a national park--Colorado's Dinosaur
National Monument.

The controversy surrounding the Green River poisoning and its aftermath is
credited with creating the first public awareness about the native fishes of the
Colorado River. Since then, fisheries agencies have learned to consider the
ecological consequences of gamefish management on native fish populations,
although differences of opinion, not to mention funding levels, still exist
between sport and nongame fish managers.

Ironically, many of the people who helped to poison the Green River in 1962 are
today responsible for protecting the very fishes they had once worked to

Christopher Scharpf

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