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The Mountain-Prairie Region


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


August 28, 2002
CONTACT: Bob McCue 303-236-7400, ext. 252
                    Kathy Wall 303-969-7322, ext. 225

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes
Recovery Goals for Endangered Fish

LAKEWOOD, Colo.– The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the availability of recovery goals that supplement and amend recovery plans for four species of endangered fish of the Colorado River Basin. A Notice of Availability was published in the Federal Register on August 28, 2002.

The recovery goals provide objective, measurable recovery criteria required to consider removing the humpback chub (Gila cypha), bonytail (Gila elegans), Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius) and razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus) from Endangered Species Act protection. The goals identify site-specific management actions necessary to minimize or remove threats; establish demographic and genetic standards for viable, self-sustaining, viable populations; and provide recovery time estimates.

"This is a landmark day for the Fish and Wildlife Service and cooperative efforts to recover the four endangered fish species," said Dr. Ralph Morgenweck, director, Mountain-Prairie Region. "The recovery goals are based on the best available science and provide reasonable assurances that recovery can be achieved and the species protected into the future. It is my hope that these goals will serve as a model for recovery of other listed species."

Recovery of the humpback chub, bonytail and razorback sucker is considered necessary in both the upper basin (Colorado River basin upstream of Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona) and lower basin (downstream from Glen Canyon Dam to the international boundary with Mexico). Recovery of the Colorado pikeminnow is considered necessary only in the upper basin.

Downlisting and delisting criteria by listing factors and management actions, as well as demographic criteria, are presented for populations of each species with the recovery units. Updated life-history information and estimated time to achieve the downlisting and delisting requirements are also included.

The recovery goals were developed over the past three years with input from public and private organizations, including Native American Tribes, representing seven states: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.

"Recovery of these endangered fishes is complex and very difficult," said Dr. Robert Muth, director, Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, and co-author of the recovery goals. "The Service is working closely with the States of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming and with water and power development interests and environmental groups to recover the fishes. These recovery goals gives us the means to track progress and clearly define end points for recovery."

Recovery goals will be mailed to interested persons upon request and are available at For more information, contact the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, DFC, Lakewood, CO 80225, 303-969-7322, ext. 225.

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 more than 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 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.

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