Well folks, its actually happening. The ash from the fires has found its way down into the Rio Grande and the South Fork of the Rio Grande and both rivers are running black with ash from the fires. I first noticed this over a week ago and it was like coffee grounds suspended in the water but now, its black water flowing and the bottom is not even visible.
I did wade some of this two days ago and the bottom too is covered with a tarry slime. My concern and that of the biologist is that this will eventually kill all the bugs and other organisms in the river and with no food, the fish will die for sure. The other concern is this soot is probably filling the fish gills and will suffocate the fish sooner or later.
Trout are not the hardiest of specimens and require cleaner water than most fish to survive. The river temperature has also risen to the point where they will have a hard time making it due to the color and how that absorbs heat on sunny days. I honestly believe we will lose the entire trout population in both rivers and some of the area streams. There are still plenty of streams and lakes to fish so don't panic.
This is part of the natural flow of things in a forest and wilderness environment and man has to learn that some things are just out of our control. The rivers may die off but eventually, they will come back and the fish will return as it did in Yellowstone after the fires there. We are so used to fast answers in our instant society and so waiting on a natural disaster to straighten itself out seems so so hard.
I will be posting a news article that I am writing for the area newspaper along with photos so you all can visualize better just what I am talking about. Heavy rains today up the valley toward Creede will make more runoff a possibility and heavy ash flow also a danger.