Latest: Oregon chub is no longer endangered

The species became the first fish to recover enough to be delisted.

  • Rick Swart/ODFW

The Oregon chub, a minnow endemic to the Willamette River drainage, was common in sloughs, marshes and beaver ponds until habitat loss and invasive species reduced the population to fewer than 1,000. In 1993, the chub was added to the federal endangered species list. Though more fish are listed than mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians, none have been successfully recovered. “Freshwater habitats are the most endangered worldwide,” said native fish expert Peter Moyle (“The little fish that could,” HCN, 3/3/14).

In February, the chub became the first fish ever to be taken off the list. (The Modoc sucker, in Oregon and California, has been proposed for delisting; a decision is due in May.) Its recovery involved numerous habitat restorations and introductions, some on private land, but required no major water or land-use changes. “In most of the West, we deal with the concern that we’re going to take away water that people need,” says Oregon Fish and Wildlife biologist Paul Scheerer. “That was not the case here.”

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