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: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/2021-14335/endangered-and-threatened-species-reclassification-of-the-razorback-sucker-from-endangered-to