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The Mountain-Prairie Region


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

Janet Mizzi 303-236-7862, x280
Sharon Rose 303-236-7917, x415
Terry Sexson 303-236-7917, x429


Based on a new conservation agreement, a recent status evaluation, and ongoing recovery activities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has withdrawn a proposal to protect the least chub, a small minnow found only in Utah, under the Endangered Species Act.

The State of Utah, in cooperation with the Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and other partners, developed a conservation agreement and strategy for the least chub to protect and enhance the species and its habitat. Some of the provisions of the plan already have been implemented.

The range of the species has been expanded to include two new populations along Utah’s Wasatch Front as well as a reintroduced population at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge.

"Our proposal to list the least chub as endangered was based on the decline in its range and abundance and continued threats to the species," said Ralph Morgenweck, the Service’s regional director for the Rocky Mountain region. "Since the Service published the proposal, livestock grazing practices have improved, some fencing projects have been completed and more are underway to exclude cattle from spring heads."

"We are confident the conservation agreement with Utah will conserve the least chub and allow the species to recover without the Act’s protection," he said. "The agreement will benefit all of the plants and animals which depend on the springs and conserve the landscape for future generations of Utahns to enjoy."

The least chub measures about 2.5 inches long and has a gold stripe along its blue sides with white to yellow fins. Historically, the species existed throughout the Bonneville Basin of northwestern Utah in a variety of habitats including springs, streams, and ponds.

As part of conservation efforts, federal and state money are being used to purchase fencing materials to keep cattle out of spring heads and initiate a rotational grazing regime to help lessen cattle impacts at springs used by least chub. Both federal and state agencies also are collecting baseline information on least chub populations, life history and habitat needs to ensure healthy populations and maintain the species’ genetic diversity.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources will continue to control nonnative species, introduce either transplanted wild stock or brood stock least chub, and develop a protocol to mitigate proposed water development and future habitat alteration.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries 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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