Press Release
Public Invited to Comment on Draft Recovery Plan for Colorado Pikeminnow
Media Contacts

DENVER — Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is announcing the availability of a Draft Recovery Plan for the Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius). The Service invites the public to provide comments for the next 60 days. 

Recovery Plans are non-regulatory documents that act as a guidebook towards a shared goal of ensuring a species' long-term survival in the wild. They outline site-specific management actions that contribute to the recovery of the species, describe the time and cost estimates for implementing those actions, and outline measurable criteria for delisting.

The Colorado pikeminnow historically occurred throughout the warm water reaches of the Colorado River basin of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Mexico, in addition to the Gila River subbasin. The Colorado pikeminnow was included in the 1967 List of Endangered Species and the original 1973 Endangered Species Act. Recovery programs in the Green and Upper Colorado subbasins and for the San Juan River subbasin were established to monitor and enhance populations. As a result of river fragmentation, development, and hydrological modifications, the Colorado pikeminnow is currently found in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Primary threats to the Colorado pikeminnow include barriers to movement due to dams and diversions, dam entrainment, altered river temperatures, extended drought, water storage and flow management, predation from invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
, and water contamination. In addition, because Colorado pikeminnow often migrate to specific spawning sites and occupy various habitat types based on their developmental stage and needs, the species requires connected river habitats to support its recovery.

Proposed recovery actions aim to achieve sustainable populations of sufficient size, distribution, and reproduction numbers to meet recovery criteria and ensure sufficient genetic, behavioral, and ecological diversity across the Colorado pikeminnow’s historical range. Additionally, it is likely Colorado pikeminnow will need a variety of habitats available throughout each subbasin to achieve the degree of resiliency needed for recovery.

The Draft Recovery Plan announced today is a revision of the previous 2002 Recovery Plan; updates include the best available scientific information. The Draft Recovery Plan and Species Status Assessment are available on the species’ profile page:

The public comment period is open for 60 days from this announcement. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to:, or by U.S. mail to: Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, P.O. Box 25486, Lakewood, CO 80225.

For more information about recovery programs on the Colorado and San Juan Rivers, please visit:


Story Tags

Freshwater fish