Spring Storm in the Great Basin Red Cliffs Desert Tortoise Reserve After a Spring Storm in the Great Basin Hunting Upland Birds at Kingsbury Lake Waterfowl Production Area Sandhill Migration on the Platte River Badlands Sunrise The Green River at Ouray NWR North Park Lupines Moab Sunset
News & Releases
Mountain-Prairie Region

News Release

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Proposed Change in Status for the Endangered June Sucker

Proposed Downlisting to Threatened

For Immediate Release

November 25, 2019

A person holds a June Sucker to the camera. The fish has a greenish belly and dark grey scales
June sucker (Chasmistes liorus). Photo: USFWS

SALT LAKE CITY – Thanks to the collaborative conservation efforts of state, local and federal partners, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, one of Utah’s endangered fishes, the June sucker, is one step further on the path to recovery.

After a thorough review using the best available science, the Service is proposing to reclassify the June sucker from endangered to threatened on the List of Federally Endangered Species. This decision is based on a recent assessment that concluded the species is no longer in danger of immediate extinction.

“The improved status of the June sucker would not have been possible without the shared commitment to conservation from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and other partners,” said Service Mountain-Prairie Regional Director Noreen Walsh. “Our best chance for continued success in recovering species rests in the power of these long-term, collaborative partnerships.”

“Partnerships are the key to conservation effectiveness, and trust is the glue that holds them together. The success we’ve seen with June sucker recovery would not have been possible without the contributions, cooperation, engagement and persistence of our local, state and federal partners,” said Utah Department of Natural Resources Recovery Program Director Chris Keleher. “Downlisting is a major milestone and cause for celebration, but speaking for the partnership, we will remain committed to the ultimate goal - the recovery of the June sucker.”

The June sucker, a fish native only to Utah Lake in the Beehive state (and tributary rivers used for spawning), numbered only 300 in 1999. Its population increased to more than 2,000 fish in the last few years. This success is due to the strong partnership and recovery efforts established under the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program in 2001. Partners in this recovery program have actively worked to increase the population through habitat management, and reduction in threats. A proposed rule to reclassify this unique fish has been published in the Federal Register.

Despite the proposed positive change in status, there are still threats to the June sucker that need continued attention. Habitat alterations from changes in river flows and persistent drought, as well as competition and predation from invasive species such as common carp and northern pike, still pose a risk to the June sucker. The Service will continue to work with our partners to mitigate these threats and monitor the population throughout its range.

The proposed rule is available for public review and comment in the Federal Register for xx-days after publication. Interested parties can submit comments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. In the search box, enter docket number FWS–R6–ES–2019–0026, and then click on the “Comment Now!” button.

Comments will also be accepted via U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–R6–ES–2019–0026 U.S. Fish and Wildlife, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

To learn more about the June sucker visit: https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp0/profile/speciesProfile?spcode=E050

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen in the West, visit our website, or connect connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram.

– FWS –

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Office of External Affairs

Mountain-Prairie Region

134 Union Blvd

Lakewood, CO 80228


303-236-3815 FAX



Jennifer Strickland
(303) 236-4574

To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your
contact information below.

govdelivery Logo


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: November 25, 2019
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
flickr youtube