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VENTURA FWO:An Endangered Fish ReturnsHome (Almost)
California-Nevada Offices , October 2, 2008
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Students from the Lewis Center release founder Mohave tui chubs into Deppe Pond. (photo: Matt Huffine, the Lewis Center)
Students from the Lewis Center release founder Mohave tui chubs into Deppe Pond. (photo: Matt Huffine, the Lewis Center) - Photo Credit: n/a
An endangered Mohave tui chub (photo: China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station).
An endangered Mohave tui chub (photo: China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station). - Photo Credit: n/a
Deppe Pond at the Lewis Center, the Mohave tui chub's new home (photo: Matt Huffine)
Deppe Pond at the Lewis Center, the Mohave tui chub's new home (photo: Matt Huffine) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Judy Hohman, Ventura FWO
After being extirpated from the Mojave River in southern California in the 20th century, the  endangered Mohave tui chub recently returned to within 100 feet of its historic habitat. On October 2, 2008,  473 Mohave tui chubs trapped earlier in the day at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station near Ridgecrest, California, were transported and released to their new home at Deppe Pond on the campus of the Lewis Center for Educational Research, a K-12  school in Apple Valley, Calif..  The fish were carefully released by four students from the Lewis Center into Deppe Pond.  An additional 75 Mohave tui chub were released to the pond October 6, bringing the total number of founder fish for this new population to 548.

The Mohave tui chub (Siphateles bicolor mohavensis) is a member of the minnow family and is on both the federal and state endangered species lists.  It is the only fish native to the Mojave River.  This is the fourth population of Mohave tui chubs in the world.  The other three are in man-created waters at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station near Ridgecrest, Camp Cady, a California Department of Fish and Game facility between Blythe and Baker, and Zzyzx, a desert research facility near Baker on the National Park Service's Mojave National Preserve, which is managed by California State University, Fullerton.  To downlist the species from endangered to threatened, the Mohave Tui Chub Recovery Plan requires a minimum of six viable populations of Mohave tui chubs to persist for a minimum of 5 years. 

What makes this population unique is the conservation and education partnership with the Lewis Center.  Besides numerous federal, state, and local agencies, and private companies preparing Deppe Pond for the translocation, and the translocaiton of the Mohave tui chubs, the students at the Lewis Center were involved in all aspects of the project. First and foremost, they were persistent; they wanted the Mohave tui chub in the Mojave River at the Lewis Center. The Lewis Center stresses experiential learning, so the students removed non-native and invasive plants and animals from Deppe Pond; monitored water quality; and trapped, measured, weighed, and marked Mohave tui chubs at the China Lake and Zzyzx populations. 

As the stewards for the new Deppe Pond population of Mohave tui chubs, the students at the Lewis Center will be responsible for managing the chubs and the habitat. Using the scientific process, they will determine the status and trend of the population, improve and manage existing physical and ecological components of the habitat, monitor and manage water quality, conduct behavioral studies on breeding, daily and seasonal variability in habitat use, collect data on external parasites or evidence of disease and other data collection.  While using science to manage this species, the students will establish and maintain an education component for others at the school and the community.  This includes establishing an aquarium and web camera, educational panels on a kiosk by Deppe Pond, a web site, and other educational and outreach activities for the students, the community, and the world to learn about the Mohave tui chub.  Given the students' persistence and enthusiam, who knows - maybe the Mohave tui chub will come home again to the Mojave River.


Contact Info: judy hohman, 805-644-1766 ext. 304, judy_hohman@fws.gov



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