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The Mountain-Prairie Region

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

 

Contact:  Matt Kales, 303- 236-4576
 
Sam Spiller, 602-841-5329

 U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE ANNOUNCES UPDATE OF
RECOVERY GOALS FOR ENDANGERED FISH IN COLORADO RIVER

 Lakewood, Colo.—The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it intends to begin the process of reviewing and updating recovery goals for the humpback chub in 2007.  The humpback chub (Gila cypha) is a canyon-dwelling member of the minnow family that inhabits the Colorado River and its tributaries in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.  The fish is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

 Published in 2002, the recovery goals for the humpback chub contain site-specific management actions and objective, measurable criteria, as required by the Endangered Species Act, aimed at recovering the species.  The recovery goals also state that the Service and our partners will review and revise the goals at least once every five years, or as necessary, when new information warrants a change in the recovery criteria.

 As part of the review and revision of the goals, the Service will analyze time and cost estimates for recovery, which were not included in the original goals.  A U.S. District Court ruling on January 18, 2006, directs that the Service, as a matter of procedure and to the extent practicable, must include time and cost estimates in the recovery goals.

This ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by the Grand Canyon Trust.  The lawsuit challenged the recovery goals, claiming that they are “arbitrary and capricious because they are not supported by the applicable science, fail to use the best available information, and ignore relevant and critical scientific information.”

 With respect to these challenges, the court ruled only that the Service should have included time and cost estimates in the 2002 recovery goals.  The court did not find that the recovery goals were deficient in any other respects and denied a request for injunction requiring the Service to issue new recovery goals. The Service and its many partners in the recovery efforts stand by the underlying science in the recovery goals, and intend to proceed with ongoing activities.

 “The Service considers the recovery goals to be a guidance document that uses the best available science to further the conservation and survival of the humpback chub,” said Mitch King, Regional Director of the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region, the lead entity for recovery of the humpback chub and three other endangered Colorado River fishes.  “New information about this species will be considered when the recovery goals are updated.”

 The Service also plans to update recovery goals for the other Colorado River endangered fishes -- Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker and bonytail – beginning in 2007 as part of the five-year status review of these species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

 - FWS -

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