San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program
Recovery Program established by a cooperative agreement
Implementation of the Recovery Program was identified as a reasonable and prudent alternative for the 1991 Animas-La Plata Project biological opinion, which created Colorado's Lake Nighthorse. Following this, the Recovery Program was established through a cooperative agreement in 1992 and currently includes signatories from Colorado, New Mexico, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and the Navajo Nation. The Recovery Program's goals are to recover the listed and Colorado Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius) and Razorback Sucker (Xyrauchen texanus), while new and existing water development projects continue in compliance with state, tribal and federal law on the San Juan River.
Recovery Program partners and the collaborative effort towards recovery
The Recovery Program consists of partners who commit to the recovery of fishes listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and in addition to the above lists signatories, include water users and conservation groups. Each Recovery Program partner participates in both a Coordination and Biology committee and the committees are responsible for designing, implementing, and evaluating recovery actions. The Biology Committee provides technical support to the Recovery Program while the Coordination Committee is responsible for policies, direction, procedure, and organization.
Click here to explore the Recovery Program Partners!
The San Juan River Basin is home to 9 native fish species, including the listed Colorado Pikeminnow, and Razorback Sucker. These two fishes are found only in the Colorado River system.
Colorado Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius)
The Colorado Pikeminnow is a big-river minnow found only in the Colorado River Basin. It was first listed as endangered in 1967 and was given full protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Valued as food by early settlers and miners throughout the basin, wild populations now only occur in rivers upstream of Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona. Individuals may reach 6 feet in length, weigh 80 pounds, and live 40 years. Known for long-distance spawning migrations of more than 200 miles in late spring and early summer, adults are capable of reproducing at 5 to 7 years of age. Young Colorado Pikeminnow feed on insects and plankton, whereas adults feed mostly on fish. The species is being reintroduced into the San Juan River.
Razorback Sucker (Xyrauchen texanus)
The Razorback Sucker is a big-river sucker found only in the Colorado River Basin. It was listed as endangered and given full protection under the Endangered Species Act in 1991. Valued as food by early settlers and miners, wild populations of Razorback Sucker are now extremely rare. Poor survival of young has been attributed to loss of habitat and predation by nonnative fishes. Individuals may reach 36 inches in length, weigh 14 pounds, and live 40 years. Adults are capable of reproducing at 3 to 4 years of age, and spawning occurs during high spring flows. Razorback Sucker feed on insects, plankton, and plant matter. The species is being reintroduced into the Green, Gunnison, upper Colorado and San Juan rivers, Lakes Mojave and Havasu, and the lower Colorado and Verde rivers.
For more information, please go the Colorado River Recovery Programs website at www.coloradoriverrecovery.org and specifically for more information on the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program go to www.coloradoriverrecovery.org/sj/.