Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Announces Final Revision of Santa Ana Sucker Critical Habitat

Dec 02, 2010

Dec. 2, 2010

Contact: Jane Hendron, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office -
Phone: 760/431-9440 ext. 205

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Final Revision of Santa Ana Sucker Critical Habitat

CARLSBAD, CA -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it has revised critical habitat for the federally threatened Santa Ana sucker (Catostomus santaannae). Areas designated total 9,331 acres in portions of creeks and rivers in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Riverside counties, California.

Santa Ana suckers are generally less than six inches in length and feed primarily on invertebrates, algae, and organic matter. Historically, they were found in upper watershed areas of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains down to the Pacific Ocean. Habitat for the Santa Ana sucker has been degraded by water diversion, dam construction, and urban development.

This species requires a functional hydrological system that experiences peaks and ebbs in flows; channel substrates with loose sand, gravel, cobble, and boulders that create riffles and pools; shallow sandy stream margins; clear or mostly clear cool water less than 86°F, and food sources such as algae and aquatic emergent vegetation.

The designated areas are identified in three Units, as follows:

 Unit 1 – Santa Ana River – totals 1,559 acres divided into three subunits. Subunit 1A is not occupied by the Santa Ana sucker but is essential to its conservation. Subunits 1B and 1C are both occupied by the species. Unit 1 includes upper, mainstem and lower portions of the Santa Ana River as well as portions of the Rialto Drain and Sunnyslope Creek.

 Unit 2 – San Gabriel River – totals about 1,000 acres and includes portions of the West, North, and East forks of the San Gabriel River, and several tributaries. This unit is occupied and contains the highest quality habitat for the Santa Ana sucker.

 Unit 3 – Big Tujunga Creek – totals 1,233 acres divided into two subunits. The area in subunit 3A includes a 13-mile stretch of Big Tujunga Creek between Big Tujunga Dam and Reservoir and the Hansen Dam and Flood Control Basin. Subunit 3B consists of 44 acres of tributaries to Big Tujunga Creek. Although subunit 3B is not occupied it contributes essential coarse sediments and flows downstream to occupied areas.

Areas designated include lands within the boundaries of the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan and the Santa Ana Sucker Conservation Program. 

Final estimates of annualized incremental costs associated with the revised critical habitat designation could range from $1.2 to $36.2 million over the next 25 years (using a seven percent discount rate).

The upper bound estimate of costs is likely overstated because it assumes critical habitat would restrict access to all water rights in subunit 1A. It is highly unlikely that complete access to those rights would be restricted. Additionally, some conservation measures that may be required as a result of proposed projects in this subunit may be associated with the listing of the species under the Endangered Species Act, rather than incremental costs from critical habitat.

The final rule was delivered to the Federal Register on December 1, 2010.

Upon publication of the final rule, you can access it on the Internet at Look for the box that reads “Enter Keyword or ID” and enter the Docket number for this rule, which is FWS-R8-ES-2009-0072.

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