Within historical time, western native fish communities have faced increasing threats from habitat loss, invasive species, and pollution. It should come as no surprise that human development has greatly altered fish habitat in the west because of the importance of water for domestic, agricultural, and industrial uses, power generation, waste disposal, flood protection, and transportation. Fish that were adapted to natural cycles of river flow, lake levels, and water temperatures have been unable to adapt to the changes to these cycles caused by development, leading to the listing as threatened or endangered of 68 species of western native fishes. Rapid expansion of non-native fishes, aquatic plants, and invertebrates has increased competition for food and space while pollutants from past and present degrade our lakes, streams, and rivers.
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The Western Fisheries Research Center studies: threatened and endangered fishes