@USBR awards $3.4 million contract to aid the recovery of the critically endangered razorback sucker #ColoradoRiver #COriver

Ron Rogers biologist with Bio-West Inc., holds a large razorback sucker captured in Lake Mead near the Colorado River inflow area

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Mark McKinstry, Amee Andreason):

The Bureau of Reclamation today awarded a $3.4 million contract to Bio-West Inc., of Logan, Utah, to determine how habitat, flows, water temperatures, trends in other fish species and other variables affect the endangered razorback sucker in the Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon inflow areas.

The razorback sucker is one of four large-bodied river fish native to the Colorado River Basin. Currently listed as endangered under the authority of the Endangered Species Act, the fish was historically abundant throughout the basin and was predominately found in the main stem river and major tributaries of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The current distribution and abundance of razorback sucker is greatly reduced from historic levels. However, populations have persisted, made possible due to aggressive stocking efforts throughout the Colorado Basin.

Grand Canyon and Lake Mead currently have the only self-sustaining and recruiting population of endangered razorback suckers in the Colorado River Basin. Under this contract, researchers will be able to study this population of fish to determine their population numbers, age structure, movement patterns from the river back and forth to Lake Mead, and spawning areas in the lake and river. Understanding this population will help in the recovery of this critically endangered fish throughout its range.

The work accomplished under this contract will include seven 2-week efforts in Grand Canyon from March through September 2019 and will investigate adult razorback sucker spawning and movement patterns in Grand Canyon and Lake Mead. This will help to identify the types of habitat used by these fish in addition to determining a population estimate. These activities will support conservation efforts in the Grand Canyon and Lake Mead and will provide updated information on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to revise the recovery goals for the razorback sucker.

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