Salinity in the virgin river-Virgin River - Wikipedia

The back, breast, and part of the belly are embedded with small scales, naked in some individuals. The length of the head divided by the depth of the caudal peduncle typically results in a ratio of 4. The scales are typically lacking basal radii or are with extremely faint lines. Another sizable population is found in the upper and middle reaches of the Muddy River in Nevada. In its native habitat, it occurs only in the mainstream of the Virgin and Muddy Rivers Water within these rivers are generally somewhat warm, turbid, and saline , and very rarely in the immediate mouths of its major tributaries.

More virgon releases. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site. The site is secure. We are Virginia council of nurse practitioners the Washington County Water Conservancy District to pursue conservation as an alternative to harmful water-development projects that would promote more sprawl and unsustainable growth in an increasingly arid region. Degradation of Colorado River water by the addition of dissolved solids from the Virgin River affects the suitability of the water for municipal, industrial, and agricultural use within the basin. Currently, this sub-species exists only in fragmented and scattered locations throughout its range. The Southwestern Willow Flycatcher is an insectivore, taking insects Salinity in the virgin river the air, or picking them from the foliage. The Center's Save the Virgin River campaign is focused in particular on saving the three fish species that survive only in the Virgin and nowhere else:.

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Such diffused flow is deeper than the ditches or tile drains constructed for agricultural rivver. In a humid area rier amount of salt entering the soil is low to begin with, and so there is far less to travel upward through capillary action in dry periods. A mass-balance model was used to predict changes in the dissolved-solids thf in the Virgin River if the salt discharging from Dixie Hot Springs were reduced or removed. Growing vegetation, a strong reflection of infrared radiation, appears bright red in the Aerochrome infrared film used for the photograph. Tillman, F. California's farms provide some 40 percent of the nation's fresh food and vegetables. The rectangle outlines the area shown in the U-2 Young girl models in skimpy underwear on page One riiver the principal natural resources of the western U. For such projects to succeed human beings had to learn to work cooperatively toward Salinity in the virgin river common objective. Although the magnitude of the NAWAPA plan is staggering and the plan would have to surmount formidable political hurdles before it could Salinity in the virgin river implemented, it is in my opinion the only concept advanced so far that will enable the lower reaches of western rivers to achieve the salt balance necessary for the long-term health cirgin western agriculture, on which the entire U. It isl expected that the amount drawn from the Colorado River via the All-American Canal can be reduced fromacre-feet per year toacre-feet.

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The back, breast, and part of the belly are embedded with small scales, naked in some individuals. The length of the head divided by the depth of the caudal peduncle typically results in a ratio of 4.

The scales are typically lacking basal radii or are with extremely faint lines. Another sizable population is found in the upper and middle reaches of the Muddy River in Nevada. In its native habitat, it occurs only in the mainstream of the Virgin and Muddy Rivers Water within these rivers are generally somewhat warm, turbid, and saline , and very rarely in the immediate mouths of its major tributaries.

The Virgin chub is most common in deeper areas where waters are swift, but not turbulent, and most often is associated with boulders or other types of cover. The Virgin chub is continuing to decline. Activities that are known to be detrimental to Virgin chub populations are the de-watering of habitats through the re-routing of stream water, stream impoundment, channelization, domestic livestock grazing, timber harvesting, mining, road construction, polluting, and stocking non-natives.

Threats : widespread modification and reduction of habitat; dewatering by agricultural diversion; increased temperature, salinity, and turbidity of the Virgin River; introduction of non-native fish and parasite species. Management needs : protect and enhance habitat, including water quantity and quality; ameliorate effects of nonnative fish species in chub waters; re-establish additional populations. The Virgin chub likely evolved via introgressive hybridization between the roundtail chub , G.

Evidence for a hybrid origin of the Virgin chub is based on morphology and allozymes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Virgin chub Conservation status. Gila seminuda. Downloaded on 20 November Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved Fishes of Arizona. Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix.

Dowling, M. Douglas, W. Minckley, and P. Origin of Gila seminuda Teleosti: Cyprinidae through introgressive hybridization: implications for evolution and conservation. Hidden categories: CS1 maint: archived copy as title Articles with 'species' microformats. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Water also evaporates directly from inland water surfaces such as those of creeks, rivers, lakes, marshes, canals and reservoirs. Most of the water entering the roots is transpired through the leaves of the plant and passes as a vapor into the atmosphere. Valley and basin lands consist primarily of soils that have been deposited by floods. Such salt deposits are one result of the geological processes summed up in the word weathering. As the water moves laterally there is a marked decrease in the velocity and depth of its flow. The general concept is to divert saline flows, where they can be found, into evaporation basins. The material for the levees came from dredging the rivers and sloughs.

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Elevated concentrations of dissolved-solids salinity including calcium, sodium, sulfate, and chloride, among others, in the Colorado River cause substantial problems for its water users. Previous efforts to reduce dissolved solids in upper Colorado River basin UCRB streams often focused on reducing suspended-sediment transport to streams, but Pah Tempe Springs, located in Washington County, Utah, contribute about 95, tons of dissolved solids annually along a 1,foot gaining reach of the Virgin River.

The river gains more than 10 cubic feet per second along the reach as thermal, saline springwater discharges from dozens of orifices located along the riverbed and above the river on The U. To estimate dissolved-solids loads from the MWSP area, discharge and water In , the U. Degradation of Colorado River water by the addition of dissolved solids from the Virgin River affects the suitability of the water for municipal, industrial, and agricultural use within the basin.

The Colorado River and its tributaries supply water to more than 35 million people in the United States and 3 million people in Mexico, irrigating over 4. Pah Tempe Springs discharge hot, saline, low dissolved-oxygen water to the Virgin River in southwestern Utah, which is transported downstream to Lake Mead and the Colorado River. The dissolved salts in the Virgin River negatively influence the suitability of this water for downstream agricultural, municipal, and industrial use.

Therefore, various Salinity loads throughout the Colorado River Basin have been a concern over recent decades due to adverse impacts on population, natural resources, and regional economics. With substantial financial resources and various reclamation projects, the salt loading to Lake Powell and associated total dissolved-solids concentrations in the Lower Colorado Irrigation in arid environments can alter the natural rate at which salts are dissolved and transported to streams.

Understanding the location, spatial distribution, and irrigation status of agricultural lands and the A new study shows that mysterious cycles in salinity in the lower Colorado River are a result of precipitation patterns in the headwaters of the upper basin more than a thousand river miles away.

The salinity levels generally repeat about every 10 years. Search Search. Utah Water Science Center. Below are publications associated with this project. Year Published: Enhanced and updated spatially referenced statistical assessment of dissolved-solids load sources and transport in streams of the Upper Colorado River Basin Approximately 6. Miller, Matthew P. View Citation. Miller, M. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report —, 23 p.

Filter Total Items: Schwarz, Gregory; Hirsch, Robert M. Year Published: Managing salinity in Upper Colorado River Basin streams: Selecting catchments for sediment control efforts using watershed characteristics and random forests models Elevated concentrations of dissolved-solids salinity including calcium, sodium, sulfate, and chloride, among others, in the Colorado River cause substantial problems for its water users.

Tillman, Fred; Anning, David W. Tillman, F. D, Anning, D. A, Buto, S. Year Published: Effects of groundwater withdrawals from the Hurricane Fault zone on discharge of saline water from Pah Tempe Springs, Washington County, Utah Pah Tempe Springs, located in Washington County, Utah, contribute about 95, tons of dissolved solids annually along a 1,foot gaining reach of the Virgin River.

Gardner, Philip M. Gardner, P. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report —, 41 p. Thiros, Susan A. Thiros, S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report —, 71 p.

Year Published: Catchment-flowline network and selected model inputs for an enhanced and updated spatially referenced statistical assessment of dissolved-solids load sources and transport in streams of the Upper Colorado River Basin This USGS data release consists of the synthetic stream network and associated catchments used to develop spatially referenced regressions on watershed attributes SPARROW model of dissolved-solids sources and transport in the Upper Colorado River Basin as well as geology and selected Basin Characterization Model BCM data used as input to the Buto, Susan G.

Attribution: Utah Water Science Center. Buto, S. Year Published: Geospatial datasets for assessing the effects of rangeland conditions on dissolved-solids yields in the Upper Colorado River Basin In , the U. Tillman, Fred D. In past millenniums the Colorado emptied about half the time into the Gulf of California and half the time into the Salton Sea, forming the ancient Lake Cahuilla. When the Colorado was first seen by European explorers, it was flowing into the Gulf of California.

It continued to do so until , when it was again diverted into the sink for two years before it could be rediverted to its former channel. Surface of the Salton Sea is now feet below sea level, giving the water a maximum depth of 40 feet. The Salton Sea is the largest body of water in California. The irrigation water that percolates downward through the soil is enriched in salts because of evapotranspiration, the combination of direct evaporation and plant transpiration.

To collect this brackish water the farmer installs pipes in parallel lines, usually about eight feet deep and to feet apart. The pipes, which are either loosely fitted or perforated, were once commonly made of tile or concrete but now are usually made of plastic. The drains form open channels through which ground water will flow when it reaches a level high enough to harm the roots. The brackish water usually flows to a drain but sometimes empties into sumps and is pumped into larger channels called collector drains.

The most productive river in both salts and water is the Willamette in Oregon, which flows through a region of very high precipitation. The least productive in both salts and water is the Gila below Gillespie Dam in southwestern Arizona, a desert region.

Even today it is asserted that rivers such as the Arkansas, the Pecos and the Colorado are unusually salty because they are slowly leaching away ancient buried salt beds. The evidence does not support such an assertion. The saltiness of rivers is simply a matter of the relative amount of water that is turned into water vapor through consumption, whether it is natural or the result of human activity.

The key to maintaining a salt balance in irrigated fields is adequate drainage. Whether it is natural or artificial, drainage refers to the removal of water from a place where it is not wanted to some other place, through a pipe or channel that can be on, above or below the land surface. The term agricultural drainage refers specifically to measures intended to lower the depth of a water table that is too close to the surface to allow the successful growing of crops.

In humid regions the water table may have to be lowered in order to provide aerated soil around plant roots and to increase the firmness of the soil for tillage and other farm operations. For this purpose in such regions a network of ditches or tile drains is normally laid out at a depth of three to five feet below the surface.

I n arid regions drainage must serve the additional function of maintaining a satisfactory salt balance in the vicinity of plant roots. When the weather is rainy or when irrigation water is being applied, water and salts both percolate downward. In dry weather and between irrigations the water and salts percolate upward through capillary action.

In a humid area the amount of salt entering the soil is low to begin with, and so there is far less to travel upward through capillary action in dry periods. Moreover, the dry periods are usually short In arid climates the drainage ditches or tile drains must be deeper than they are in humid regions in order to prevent a net upward movement of salts.

To be effective the drainage channels must usually be at least six feet below the surface. The effluent from the drainage network must be discharged in such a way that the salt imported with the irrigation water is exported without harming the interests of water users downstream. A remarkable and fortuitous facility for the disposal of brackish drain water exists in southern California adjacent to the Imperial Valley, the largest single expanse of irrigated agricultural land in the Western Hemisphere.

The water needed to irrigate the valley's more than , acres is carried a distance of 80 miles from the Colorado River by the All-American Canal. The All-American Canal also supplies the Coachella Canal, which carries Colorado River water an additional miles to another rich agricultural area of some 65, acres. The Colorado supplies a little more than half of the water used in southern California including the municipal water of state's two largest cities, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Brackish irrigation water that drains from the Imperial Valley and Coachella agricultural district is channeled into the Salton Sea, which at present is a little saltier than the ocean. Some 90 percent of the surface inflow to the Salton Sea is waste water from t Imperial Valley, Coachella and Mexicali districts. Since the Imperial Valley Irrigation district has been a net exporter of salts, draining out about about 15 percent more salt than the All-American Canal carries into the district from the Colorado.

Water applied to crops is termed consumptive because three-fourths of it is dissipated into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. It is estimated that aoubt million acre-feet per year of water is applied to some 40 million acreas of land in the western states, ore about three feet of water to every irrigated acre over the growing season.

Assuming that three-fourths of the water, or 90 million acre-feet, is lost to evapotranspiration, the salts in the original volume, represented here by shades of color, are concentrated in the remaining 30 million acre-feet of water. This water, often containing more than 2, p. The water drained into the Salton Sea contains about 3, p. The Salton Sea itself, which lies feet below sea level, was a dry, salt-encrusted depression until , when a flood on the Colorado broke through natural levees.

The water of the Colorado poured into the sink for two years be-fore it was rediverted into its former channel. With an area of square miles, the Salton Sea is California's largest lake and a major recreational area. Where no Salton Sea or its equivalent exists to accept the drainage from irrigated fields the problem of achieving salt balance is more complex. People cherish the notion that the water of a river not only is fresh but also should be kept fresh right down to the river's mouth or to its entry into an estuary.

In the humid regions of the world the departure from this ideal is seldom great, but the ideal is unrealistic in the more arid regions, where many of the rivers have been developed for irrigated agriculture. Before man began harnessing the rivers the seasonal floods were highly effective in carrying salts to the ocean and keeping the river basin in reasonably good salt balance.

Today, with river flows being regulated by storage systems, and with high consumptive use of the released water, there is not enough waste flow left to achieve anything approaching balance. The salt is being stored, in one way or another, within the river basins. Not only are salts getting bogged down somewhere in the system but also various measures are being taken that deliberately impede the flow of salts to the sea.

In the U. The measures being planned and effectuated to accomplish this ideal are dangerous for the future. The general concept is to divert saline flows, where they can be found, into evaporation basins. There water will evaporate from the surface, leaving behind layer on layer of crystalline salts. It is proposed that the evaporation basins be situated either where the underlying ground is already saline or where the soil is relatively nonporous.

Where neither is the case the ponds are to be lined with a presumably impervious material. Such schemes, designed to Store the salts in the river basins themselves, may work for a few years or decades but are bound to be disastrous in the long run. The wide diversity is reflected in these samples taken from six rivers. The Colombia in the extreme northwest, 1, miles long and with a total discharge of million acre-feet per year, is second in total flow only to the Mississippi.

The Arkansas, which is even longer than the Columbia 1, miles , discharges only a sixth as much water and ranks 13th among U. The discharges of the other four rivers are considerably smaller.

The term "total dissolved solids" is still widely used as a measure of salinity, but for the farmer the other two characteristics in the table are even more significant. Electrical conductivity has a greater influence on plant growth than salinity alone. Low values are preferable. Sodium absorption ratio is calculated from the abundances of sodium, calcium and magnesium ions, expressed in milliequivalents of each ion per liter.

Broadly speaking, the ratio expresses the excess of sodium, or the deficiency of calcium, that adversely affects the permeability of water in the soil.

Values below 10 are satisfactory. The schemes will fail for any of several reasons. Although the ground waters under the evaporation basin may well be brackish or saline, every groundwater basin with a flow gradient must have an outlet somewhere near its lower end.

The saline water in the evaporation basin will serve to increase the "head," or hydraulic pressure, on the saline waters below and will thereby increase the rate of discharge at the natural outlet, wreaking havoc in downstream ground waters and downstream lands. If the evaporation basin is situated above soil shown to be impermeable to fresh water, it will be found that the soil will gradually become more permeable when the waters are saline. This fact is well established.

Many types of materials have been proposed for making evaporation basins impervious: rubber and plastic sheeting, asphaltic mixtures and special types of concrete. Conceivably some linings will be effective for as long as 50 years, but ultimately one must expect them to fail. In all probability their lifetime when they are exposed to saline water will be much shorter than their lifetime is when they are exposed to fresh water, for which they are normally intended. Another prime effort today, designed to keep waters fresh in the lower reaches of river-basin systems, is the construction of "brine lines.

The lines must be elevated above nearby rivers or the adjacent systems for distributing irrigation water to ensure that the saline drain water does not recontaminate the fresh water.

This means that the effluent from field-drainage systems, along with any brackish or saline water from wells, must be pumped into the brine lines at a considerable cost in energy. Even if the energy cost is accepted, brine lines alone cannot establish a salt balance because there will still be ground-water flow below the drainage lines or above the saline aquifers that might be pumped. The U. Water and Power Resource Service formerly the U.

Bureau of Reclamation has recently completed 82 miles of an open channel brine line, roughly parallel to the San Joaquin River in California, that is designed to drain up to 30, acres of prime agricultural land in the state's San Joaquin Valley. Probably the longest brine line yet built, it now discharges into the Kesterson Reservoir south of Modesto. From there the saline waters gradually seep into the San Joaquin River as it approaches "the Delta," the estuarial area at the head of San Francisco Bay formed by the confluence of the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers.

The section of the drain that will carry the brine directly into the Delta has yet to be built. The existing canal is the first segment of a proposed "Master Drain, miles long, to be financed with Federal and state funds.

By the year the proposed drain will serve , acres and will have the capacity to remove more than three million tons of salt per year. T he difficulty of achieving salt balance in river basins where there is high consumptive use of water can be better appreciated if one reflects on the basins' complex hydrological history.

Valley and basin lands consist primarily of soils that have been deposited by floods. The river channel that winds through the valley and basin today has a look of permanence that is deceptive. In a flood heavy debris is tumbled along the deepest part of the channel and the river overflows its banks. As the water moves laterally there is a marked decrease in the velocity and depth of its flow. As a result sand and other small particles settle out, creating natural levees. The finest soil particles settled out at a considerable distance from the central channel and at a much lower rate.

The soil that settles in the valley lands is thus of medium texture, chiefly loams. Where the velocity of flow falls almost to zero in the broad basin lands farther downstream the fine-textured clays settle out.

The channel itself, including the natural levees, tends gradually to rise above the surrounding land. Later, in some exceptional flood, the river will overflow its banks again and create a new channel where the slope below it is steeper.

The new channel will capture the old channel as it erodes upstream. In time, as deposition from flood after flood raises the land, an interlacing network of buried channels is covered over.

Both shallow and deep ground water tend to follow such interlacing channels, with the deeper water appearing in what are called finger aquifers. Particularly in the basin lands the shallow ground water commonly seeps into the present river channel. Such diffused flow is deeper than the ditches or tile drains constructed for agricultural drainage.

Tile drains are most effective, as a rule, in the basin and basin-rim lands and in certain stratified soils where the "semiperched" water table rises closer to the surface than six or seven feet. The water table is said to be semiperched when the variable layering of the river-deposited soil tends to isolate the water near the surface from the main body of ground water lying at deeper levels. Under those conditions there is little opportunity for the irrigation water, enriched in salts, to percolate downward and degrade the deep ground water, which remains available for irrigation or other uses.

Farther upriver in the valley lands the subterranean structure is such that near-surface water cannot be isolated from deeper water, with the result that ditch or tile-drain systems are powerless to preserve the quality of the ground water.

Before the advent of intensive irrigation the ground waters of the western valleys and basins were almost uniformly of high quality. The underground aquifers were largely recharged at the upper end of the valleys where the rivers disgorged onto the valley lands.

The ground waters subsequently discharged into the basin lands and for the most part into the rivers themselves in the form of diffused flow. The new section, a part of which is shown near completion here, is expected to save , acre-feet of water per year, reducing the amount drawn from the Colorado River via the All-American Canal from , acre-feet per year to , acre-feet.

In most regions the water pumped from aquifers supplies both irrigation and urban needs. The urban wastes collected as sewage generally show an in-crease in total dissolved solids of to p. Where such wastes are not discharged directly into the ocean all the salts coming into the basin remain trapped and build up within it.

When the aquifers being pumped for agricultural and urban needs are near the coast, the water table has often been pumped below sea level, with a consequent intrusion of seawater into the ground-water basin.

The usual way to stop the intrusion has been to drill a series of injection wells parallel to the coast. The water pumped into the injection wells can be somewhat brackish and in some cases is treated urban sewage. The technique has been successful in creating "mounds" of water that repel the seawater.

The objection to such schemes is that they totally block the export of salts that would otherwise be carried to the sea by ground waters. The only effective way to keep ground-water basins fresh is to pump from wells near the lower end of each basin, where the salinity is highest, and to hurry the effluent on its way to the ocean or some other sink.

At the same time it will probably be essential to augment the recharge near the upper end of each basin. Unless these steps are taken one can foresee the day when the aquifers will be destroyed by salinity. T he custom traditionally followed in the U. Such a design is generally the cheapest and has the advantage of capturing floodwaters that upstream storage would miss. This ignores the basic principle, essential for the long term, of going upstream for supply and allowing the lower rivers to become brackish.

The Rio Grande, which rises in southwestern Colorado and empties into the Gulf of Mexico, is nearly 1, miles long. It is the third-longest river in the U. Over the final miles of its length it is the principal boundary between the U.

Essentially the entire flow of the upper Rio Grande, except during floods, is stored and utilized upstream from El Paso, at the extreme western end of the U.

There is almost no waste that would make it possible even to approach salt balance. Severe salt problems are gradually developing in southern New Mexico and western Texas. Along the lower river, between El Paso and the mouth in the Gulf of Mexico, there are three major international dams: Amestad, for storage; Falcon, for more storage and hydropower generation, and Anzalduas, for diversion, chiefly irrigation.

Mexico calls the lower river from El Paso to the Gulf the Rio Bravo del Norte; most of the water entering it is runoff from mountains in Mexico. The present plan of development eliminates any chance of achieving salt balance either above El Paso or below it. The Colorado River, 1, miles long, supplies more water for consumptive use than any other river in the nation. Its well-known Hoover Dam created Lake Mead, a storage reservoir and recreational area of some square miles.

Below Hoover Dam and its 1,megawatt hydroelectric power plant are seven more dams, two of which also serve to generate power.

The dam farthest downstream is Morelos Dam, which stores water for irrigation the Mexicali Valley in Mexico. Irrigated regions near the river send back their drainage water enriched fourfold in salt. About 70 percent of the total flow below Hoover Dam, containing about p. Primarily because so much water and salt is exported, the lower reaches of the Colorado are in reasonable salt balance. The problem is that the salt content of the lower river is high: more than p. In , at the behest of the Environmental Protection Agency, the seven states of the Colorado River basin agreed on a program to maintain the salinity in the lower basin at or be-low the level measured in p.

The same year, in partial satisfaction of the Mexican Water Treaty, the U. The treaty with Mexico provides that the U. In order to ensure the required river flow at the agreed salinity, the Water and Power Resources Service has undertaken to build a desalting plant at Yuma, Ariz.

It will take in about , acre-feet per year of water with an average salinity of 2, p. The brine stream will continue to be sent on to the Gulf of California. If low-salinity makeup watt is needed to meet treaty obligations, the cleansed stream can be returned undiluted to the Colorado at Yuma.

Normally, however, the cleansed stream will be blended with untreated drainage water to yield up to 92, acre-feet of water with a salinity of less than p.

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Contact: Tierra Curry. The Virgin River is one of the most extraordinary, and most threatened, rivers in the Southwest. Its headwaters are surrounded by mountain peaks more than 10, feet high, but it quickly drops through steep-walled canyons to the desert floor, where it winds its way to man-made Lake Mead, which flooded the last 25 miles of the river. Over the course of its journey, the river varies dramatically in flow, salinity, turbidity and temperature, explaining in part why the Virgin sustains a broad array of wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, many kinds of reptiles and amphibians, the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher, and three fish species found nowhere else on Earth.

The Virgin watershed is home to more than 80 imperiled species, including the endangered woundfin, endangered Virgin River chub and the highly imperiled Virgin River spinedace. These species are primarily threatened by human abuse of, and demands on, the river. Today significant reaches of the river are run nearly dry because of human use. The situation is so dire that in the endangered woundfin, a silvery blue minnow, became extinct in the wild in its designated critical habitat because not enough water is left in the river for the fish to survive and reproduce.

Populations are restocked but then perish due to lack of flow. Because of excessive water withdrawals by the Washington County Water Conservancy District, native fish like the woundfin, chub and Virgin River spinedace are continually threatened with extinction. The Center's Save the Virgin River campaign is focused in particular on saving the three fish species that survive only in the Virgin and nowhere else:.

The woundfin is named for the spines on its sharply pointed fins, and it is the only species in its genus. It is one of the most highly specialized minnows in the world, with adaptations for living in swift, shallow, sandy desert streams. It lacks scales, has leathery skin and very small eyes, and is shaped like a small torpedo.

The Virgin River chub is the top native predator in the Virgin River and can grow to be 16 inches long. It's a fast, streamlined fish with a sloped forehead, humped back and thin, rounded tail; it eats small fish, insects and bits of plants.

The chub was once so abundant that it was a food source for Native Americans and early pioneers. The Virgin River spinedace is a medium-sized, silvery minnow with a brassy sheen and black speckles.

It develops orange, red and gold patches during the breeding season. The fin on its back has eight rays, the first two of which are hard, spiny and weakly fused, which gives the spinedace its name. There are only four species in the spinedace genus. One of them, the Pahranagat spinedace, is extinct, and the other three are at risk of extinction. The Center is working to save the Virgin River and its tributaries and to protect the endangered and imperiled species that rely on it for their survival.

The primary goal of our campaign is to get more water dedicated to the river itself, which will improve the river's health and benefit the spinedace, woundfin, chub and other wildlife.

We oppose projects that would pipe and divert even more of the Virgin's tributaries, and we urge water conservation measures as an alternative. In we submitted comments opposing the Ash Creek Reservoir and Pipeline Project, which would destroy fish habitat in Ash Creek and decrease flows to the Virgin River. We are urging the Washington County Water Conservancy District to pursue conservation as an alternative to harmful water-development projects that would promote more sprawl and unsustainable growth in an increasingly arid region.

The conservancy is the supplier of water for the city of St. George, Utah, which has one of the highest per capita water use rates of any western city. As the climate warms and human populations continue to grow, water will have to be used more efficiently to save the Virgin River and the wildlife that depend on it.

Throughout the Colorado Basin, conservation must be pursued as an alternative to harmful water development so that wildlife and human communities both have a future in the region.

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