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Program and Consultation History

The Colorado pikeminnow (formerly the Colorado squawfish) and the humpback chub were listed in 1967 as endangered. Since the passage of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), two other species of Colorado River fishes have been listed as endangered; the bonytail chub (1980), and the razorback sucker (1991). As required under section 7 of the ESA, all actions of Federal agencies that may affect these listed species must undergo consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). This is to ensure that actions undertaken by a Federal agency are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of listed species. Since 1977, section 7 consultations and biological opinions have been conducted between the Service and various Federal agencies.

Since the early 1980s, two major projects have undergone section 7 consultation with the Service. They are the Animas-La Plata Project (ALP) and the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project (NIIP). During the section 7 process for the ALP, the importance of the San Juan River population of endangered fish species was re-evaluated in the biological opinion. The resulting reasonable and prudent alternative for the project was based on the premise that current and cumulative adverse conditions of the San Juan River jeopardized the continued existence of the species.

It was recognized that while the impacts associated with water development such as water depletion, water quality degradation, contaminants from irrigation return flows, increased sediment, and temperature changes may be exacerbated by continued development of the waters of the San Juan River, a program or plan was needed whereby all entities that have a potential or opportunity to recover or protect the river environment are involved. This led to the formation of the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program.


This webpage was last modified on: September 10, 2007

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