Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Proposal to Delist Modoc Sucker Due to Recovery--Highlights Success of ESA in Saving America’s Wildlife

Feb 12, 2014

February 12, 2014 

Laurie Sada 541-885-2507
Matt Baun 530-841-3119

Service Proposal to Delist Modoc Sucker Due to Recovery
 Highlights Success of ESA in Saving America’s Wildlife

Klamath Falls, Ore — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to remove the Modoc sucker, a small fish native to the upper Pit River drainage in southern Oregon and northeastern California, from the list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act. This announcement follows the proposed delisting of the Oregon chub, which was announced earlier this month and was the first fish ever to be proposed for delisting due to recovery.  

“The proposal to remove the Modoc sucker from the Endangered Species List is a strong demonstration of how conservation partners working together can recover an endangered or threatened species,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “Today's news is a tribute to the hard work and vision of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, private landowners and state, local and regional government officials who continue to show an example for the country in the recovery of endangered species.”

The Modoc sucker was listed as endangered in 1985. At the time of listing, it had been extirpated from much of its range due to habitat degradation and loss from overgrazing, siltation and stream channelization. Predation from non-native fish and loss of genetic integrity of the species due to hybridization with Sacramento suckers were also identified as threats. 

“The Endangered Species Act has not only helped prevent the Modoc sucker from going extinct, it has also promoted its recovery to the point that today, we believe that federal protections are no longer needed,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Although this fish is small in stature, its recovery is a big victory in our efforts to preserve our natural heritage.”

Thanks in large part to conservation actions that include habitat restoration and improved land management practices on both public and private lands, the Service now concludes that the population status of Modoc sucker has greatly improved. New genetic data and an increased number of populations —resulting from collaborative efforts among state and federal agencies—are also factors in the delisting proposal.

The Modoc sucker was known to inhabit only 12.9 miles of habitat in seven streams within two sub-basins at the time of listing. Today, it inhabits an estimated 42.5 miles of habitat in 12 streams within three sub-basins. Surveys show that Modoc suckers are well established in each of the streams where they were known to exist historically, and they appear to occupy nearly all available suitable habitat in the streams where they are currently found.

Impacts from livestock grazing have been reduced as a result of improved grazing management practices and construction of fencing to exclude cattle from riparian areas on several of the streams occupied by Modoc suckers. These conservation measures are expected to continue and should further help improve habitat.

The Service now has up to one year to determine whether the proposal will become final. Today’s announcement opens a 60-day comment period to allow the public to review and comment on the proposal and provide additional information. The final decision as to whether or not to delist the Modoc sucker will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available.

To provide comment on this proposal or the post delisting monitoring strategy, please submit your comment by Monday, April 14, 2014, to: Public Comments Processing, Attn:  FWS–R8–ES–2013–0133; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203. You may also submit comment electronically: go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: In the Search box, enter FWS–R8–ES–2013–0133, the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”

 For more information about the Modoc sucker and the Federal Register notice, visit

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