Endangered Species
Ecological Services
October 27, 2010

Recovery Success Stories | Oregon Chub (08:52)

Host: Sarah Leon with Rollie White, Kim Garner, and Paul Scheerer

Oregon chub (click to view larger)
Oregon chub
Photo credit: USFWS

Back from the Brink

The Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri), a small minnow found only in the Willamette River Basin in western Oregon, has rebounded from the brink of extinction. On April 23, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized this fish's improved condition by changing its legal status from endangered to the less critical category of threatened.

In 1993, the Service listed the chub as endangered after extensive alteration of the Willamette and its tributaries eliminated many sloughs and side channels that provided important habitat. Competing nonnative fish also became established throughout the Willamette basin and are considered the greatest remaining threat to the chub.

Through the Oregon Chub Recovery Plan, a team of state and federal agencies funded extensive surveys that led to the discovery of new populations. In addition, successful reintroductions established 13 new populations within its historical range. These actions dramatically improved the known status of the Oregon chub. Currently, 49 known populations are distributed throughout the Willamette Valley.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and private landowners played important roles in restoring the species' habitat. Facilitating this cooperation were innovative conservation tools such as Safe Harbor Agreements, which give landowners incentives to create and restore habitat for listed species on private lands.

Five Safe Harbor Agreements (SHA) are in place to guide management of Oregon chub populations on private lands, and the Service has completed a programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement to make it easier for more private landowners to participate.

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Last updated: July 15, 2013