The Oregon chub recently became the first fish ever removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Animals due to recovery.
The Oregon chub, a small minnow found only in the Willamette River Basin in floodplain habitats with little or no water flow, was listed as endangered in 1993 and reclassified as threatened in 2010. Primary factors that led to its listing were loss of habitat and predation by nonnative fishes.
Through collaborative partnerships, and aided by outreach to the local communities, these threats have been lessened over the last 21 years with restoration and acquisition of habitat, promotion of natural river flows, and the reintroduction of chub into historical habitat.
Just eight populations totaling fewer than 1,000 fish were known to exist at the time of listing in 1993. Today, the population stands at more than 140,000 fish at 80 locations with a diverse range of habitats.
The Endangered Species Act has helped prevent the slide toward extinction for hundreds of species. The Oregon chub joins 28 other species that have been successfully recovered and removed from the Endangered Species List.
Many other species also are experiencing positive trends toward recovery, including three additional ones from Oregon: the Modoc sucker is currently proposed for delisting, and the Borax Lake chub and the Columbian white-tailed deer are recommended for reclassification from endangered to threatened.
Private landowners have been an essential partner in recovering the Oregon chub by managing habitats on their lands and, in some cases, creating habitat to support introductions of the species on their property.
Oregon chub populations exist on the William L. Finley and Ankeny National Wildlife refuges, with Ankeny supporting the largest known population in the Willamette River Basin.
Other partners that contributed in Oregon chub recovery efforts included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s Willamette National Forest, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Transportation, McKenzie River Trust, City of Salem, Santiam Water Control District, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, and Bonneville Power Administration. The Willamette Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Fisheries Program were also essential to the chub’s recovery.
For more information about the Oregon chub, visit http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/.
source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Region