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Science and Innovations

USFWS Proposes Downlisting Razorback Sucker

US Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed today to downgrade a Colorado River fish, the razorback sucker, from “endangered” to “threatened.” KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

The razorback sucker was listed as endangered in 1991 due to habitat loss and predation by introduced exotic species. Wildlife officials say the population has recovered to tens of thousands of fish in the Green, San Juan, and Colorado rivers, meeting the criteria for downlisting. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges many razorback suckers born in the wild do not reach adulthood. Ongoing stocking of hatchery-raised fish is necessary to sustain populations everywhere except Lake Mead. It’s also unclear how the fish may respond to climate change in the long run. They may benefit from warmer temperatures but suffer from lower river flows as drought continues in the Colorado River Basin.

The public can submit comments on the proposed downlisting for the next sixty days before the rule is finalized. More information here:

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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