Conservation Agreement Amendment Allows U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to Remove Least Chub from the Candidate Species List
For Immediate Release
August 25, 2014
DENVER--The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it has removed the least chub from the Candidate Species List. The decision was reached after the Service worked with state, local, and federal partners to finalize an amendment to a previous conservation agreement, which will provide landscape-level protection to the species across its range.
The conservation agreement amendment, signed by the Service, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission, Central Utah Water Conservancy District, Southern Nevada Water Authority, and Bureau of Reclamation, in combination with substantial modifications to previously proposed large-scale groundwater development projects, comprehensively address all the threats to the species, to the point that it no longer meets the definition of a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (Act).
"Given the partners long-term history of commitment to conserving this species, we are confident that continued conservation of this unique fish in Utah will be secure into the future," said Noreen Walsh, regional director of the Mountain-Prairie Region.
The least chub is a small-bodied fish endemic to the Bonneville Basin in Utah and occurs mostly in springs and marsh complexes throughout the Basin. Six naturally occurring and 10 successful self-sustaining introduced populations now exist within the species’ historic range. The Service found the species was warranted for listing as threatened under the Act on June 22, 2010, but at the time, listing was precluded due to higher priority actions. Threats identified at that time included livestock grazing, groundwater development and withdrawal, nonnative fishes, the effects of climate change and drought, the cumulative interaction of individual threats, and the lack of existing regulatory mechanisms to adequately address the threat of groundwater withdrawal and development.
A conservation agreement for the species was originally formalized in 1998, updated in 2005, and recently amended in 2014. Conservation actions include the acquisition of lands and grazing rights to better manage and regulate disturbance in occupied habitat, additional habitat restoration and fencing activities at key sites, development and implementation of nonnative fish management plans, and further evaluation of groundwater-surface water connections at select sites. In addition, the conservation agreement amendment includes the continued monitoring and maintenance of self-sustaining introduced populations to ensure redundancy, resiliency, and representation of the species across its range.
More information is available online at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/fish/leastchub/ or by contacting the Utah Ecological Services Field Office at 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley, Utah 84119 (telephone 801-975-3330; facsimile 801-975-3331).
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