Photos: Surprising Summer Activity Could Be Killing Hudson Valley Fish
Summer is here, and it's time to swim. Community pools, state park beaches, and even the floating pool in the Hudson River are all open to welcome overheated locals.
Warmer weather in the Hudson Valley can also lead residents to get creative when looking for a spot to cool down. While backyard slip-n-slides and nearby swimming holes can be fair game, a popular activity in New York rivers and streams could spell disaster for one of our favorite species of fish.
Rock Dams in New York Hurt Trout Populations
"Now that summer’s officially here it's important to understand the detrimental impact building rock dams with the intent of creating swimming holes can have", began a recent post from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC). These artificial pools, made by creating small pools by blocking running water with rock walls, could specifically harm local trout.
"Trout are sensitive, cold-water fish that require cold, clean water to survive", explained the NYS DEC. "Water temperatures warmer than 68°F can put extreme stress on trout and temperatures approaching 75°F can even be lethal... Rock dams alter the natural flow of the stream by slowing down or trapping the water, allowing it to warm up faster."
Not only can rock dams affect water temperature, the NYS DEC noted, but they can also harm the movement of bugs and other animals that are part of the trout's diet. The dams may also keep trout from their traditional migration patterns as well as fast-track shore erosion along the shoreline.
Luckily, there are more than enough swimming options in the Hudson Valley that can help keep the trout population healthy. The NYS DEC suggests nature-lovers spend the extra time to find a natural pool instead of creating one with rocks, but if you'd prefer a ready-to-swim options without exploring the wilderness, check out some great options below.