Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

 

United States Department of the Interior

 

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

1340 Financial Blvd., Suite 234

Reno, Nevada 89502

Ph: 775-861-6300  ~  Fax: 775-861-6301

 

Contact: Jody Brown 775-861-6300                                                                            April 2, 2004

 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Withdraws Status Change for Southern Nevada Fish

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is withdrawing a proposal to change the status of the Pahrump poolfish (Empetrichthys latos) from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The species will remain listed as endangered, as it has since 1967.

 

In 1993, it appeared that the species' status had improved enough for it to be reclassified as threatened, so the Service proposed the reclassification. But soon afterward, the Service learned about new developments that were adversely affecting the species.

 

"We would like to recover this endangered fish, and we will continue to work with our partners to accomplish that goal, but there are still threats to this species," said Robert D. Williams, Supervisor for the Fish and Wildlife Service in Nevada. "Withdrawing this proposal is primarily an administrative measure. It is the logical thing to do until we can ensure the long-term viability of the Pahrump poolfish."

 

Recovery goals for the small fish have not been met, and the species is still in danger of extinction, Williams added.

 

The Pahrump poolfish is historically found at only one location - a warm alkaline spring on private land at the Manse Ranch in southern Nye County. In anticipation that ground water pumping would cause the natural spring to dry up, biologists transplanted poolfish in the early 1970's to three locations in Nevada managed by Federal and State agencies. By 1975, the spring went dry and poolfish living in the native spring died off, leaving only the three transplanted populations.

 

By 1993, the three transplanted populations were stable and recovery objectives were being met, therefore the Service proposed to reclassify the species as threatened. However, soon after publication of the proposed rule, the Service learned that habitat modifications at the State-managed site would adversely impact the species.  Thus, the proposal to change the status of the poolfish was halted while actions were taken to secure that population.

 

By the late 1990s, the population was secure at the State-managed site; however, the poolfish at a Federal site were decimated by the illegal introduction of crayfish, a nonnative aquatic predator.  An isolated pool was recently built at this Federal site and a small number of poolfish were reintroduced in the summer of 2003. Surveys at another Federal site in 2003 indicate that there has been a significant decrease in the

poolfish population at this transplanted location.  The cause for the decline is unknown and is currently being investigated.

 

A complete description of the Service's withdrawal of the proposed rule to reclassify the Pahrump poolfish was published in today's Federal Register and is available for review on the Services's website, http://nevada.fws.gov, or by appointment during normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southern Nevada Field Office, 4701 North Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89130, (702) 515-5230.

 

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 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fishery resource 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 governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.

 

Last updated: April 16, 2014