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CSU nets study of fish in St. Vrain Creek

Study looks at climate change
File photo

A $5,000 study of the effects of wastewater and climate change on the johnny darter, a native fish found in St. Vrain Creek was approved Tuesday night by the Longmont City Council.

The $5,280 grant from the Longmont Parks and Natural Resources was awarded to Colorado State University, which will conduct the johnny darter study in 2021, according to a city staff report.

CSU researchers will probe the effects of thermal pollution from wastewater effluent - or sewage that has been treated in a septic tank or sewage treatment plant - on water temperature and the reproductive development of johnny darter, the staff report states.

Fish tissue will also be analyzed for the presence of several chemical constituents associated with urban runoff and wastewater effluent, the report states. 

The city report adds that while water temperature standards in the St. Vrain Creek is currently being met, the results of the CSU research will help determine if current standards are adequate to protect native fish species as stream temperatures climb during climate change.

“This study is one more opportunity for us to collaborate with (CSU and Colorado Parks and Wildlife) to assure we are doing what is best for our residents and the natural environment,” the staff report states.