Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Silvery Minnow Recovery Plan Released

Mountain Mail reports

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday it has released the Rio Grande Silvery Minnow Recovery Plan, First Revision.
According to a press release, the $167 million plan includes updated scientific information about the species, and provides actions that need to be taken to consider downlisting the silvery minnow from endangered to threatened species.
Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director of the Service’s Southwest Region, said the revised recovery plan “will serve as a blueprint to recover the minnow.
“With a better understanding of this small fish and its needs, and the sustained support of the public, we will continue to move closer to our goal,” Tuggle said in a press release.
Once widespread throughout the entire Rio Grande and Pecos rivers, the silvery minnow was extirpated from about 93 percent of its historical range, and is now found in only one 174 mile stretch of the Rio Grande – from south of Cochiti dam to Elephant Butte Reservoir.
The small silver fish was placed on the endangered species list in 1994 placement causing a years-long dispute between environmentalists – who want to keep water in the river for the fish – and farmers, who need water diverted from the river for irrigation.
The decline of the silvery minnow may be attributed to destruction and modification of habitat due to dewatering and diversion, water impoundment and river modifications, reduced water quality, competition and predation by non-native species and other factors, the press release said.
Total cost to recover the silvery minnow is estimated at $167 million over the next 25 years.

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