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Science and Innovations

USFWS: Humpback Chub No Longer in Danger of Extinction

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George Andrejko, AZGFD
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a fish native to the Colorado River is no longer in immediate danger of extinction. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports the humpback chub will be reclassified as “threatened” instead of “endangered.”

The fish will still receive legal protection under the Endangered Species Act and ongoing research programs are still in place. Tom Chart of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says down-listing the species is a sign that it’s on track for recovery.  

"It’s been pretty stable at about 12,000 adult fish down in the Grand Canyon, and it’s been stable around that level since 2008," Chart says. "In the Upper Basin we have four small populations that add up to probably around 5,000 adult fish." 

The humpback chub appeared on America’s first list of endangered species in 1967. Chart says biologists have worked to recover it by controlling populations of exotic predatory fish, and by managing dam releases to create good habitat for young chub.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will ask for public comment on the reclassification later this year.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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