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Partners Essential to Recovery, and Other Lessons from the Oregon Chub

On Tuesday, a 3-½ inch minnow found only in Oregon’s Willamette Valley made a big splash.  No longer threatened with extinction, the Oregon chub became the first fish proposed for removal from the Endangered Species list.  

Oregon chub

Oregon chubs swim at Finley National Wildlife Refuge in Corvallis, Oregon. Photo by Rick Swart, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

We listed the Oregon chub as endangered in 1993 for several reasons. Mainly, its native floodplain habitat was disappearing, and the fish was losing out to such nonnative fish as the bass and bluegill. In 1993, just eight known populations with fewer than 1,000 fish were known to exist. Thanks to lots of hard work, the population now stands at more than 150,000 fish at 80 locations. Just stunning! 

The chub’s recovery is something we’re proud of. But what’s even better is how it recovered.

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Hunting Brings You Face-to-Face with Nature’s Thrills, But Not the Way you May Think

I was lucky enough to spend some time this month week at SHOT Show, a trade show on hunting, shooting and the outdoors, where I got a chance to talk with hunters and shooting enthusiasts about conservation.

Huner

A hunter walks through at Selawik National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Credit: Steve Hillebrand/USFWS

Just like fishing (it’s called fishing, not catching), getting into the outdoors is often the best part of hunting. Many of the stories we shared reflected the hours we’ve spent waiting for waterfowl or elk or deer without even touching the trigger. That’s more than just OK. Being outside, away from the day-to-day, we are free to embrace an important part of our national heritage as well as, in my case, a big part of a family one.

Maybe we’ll see something we have never seen before – nature is always surprising and always a thrill.

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With our Partners, the Possibilities are Endless

 Almost anything IS possible, especially when you have our great conservation partners engaged.   That’s one of the lessons I have learned throughout my career in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Today, Secretary Jewell awarded the Partners in Conservation awards to 20 outstanding partnership projects within Department of the Interior agencies.  These partnerships are examples of that motto and I’m proud we had four partnerships recognized.    

The partnerships recognized by the Secretary exemplify the teamwork, dedication and foresight moving conservation forward to meet the challenges of today and the future.  I know we have hundreds, if not thousands, of partnerships with individuals, organizations and other government agencies.

Great Plains Nature Center

A group of schoolchildren learn animal identification skills in a class at the Great Plains Nature Center. Credit: USFWS

Here are the four we celebrated with Secretary Jewell today:

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Last updated: August 31, 2011