Oregon chub: The first fish species in the US that was removed from the endangered list

It is a sort of a double celebration for the United States as two of its animals have been removed from the endangered list. Several days ago the majestic American Bald Eagle has been declared as no longer an endangered animal and on Tuesday the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) has been taken out from the U.S. Endangered Species Act protection by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The fish is endemic only to Oregon  in the United States and it had been federally listed as threatened species from 1993 to 2014.

Authorities announced on Tuesday that the Oregon minnow which grows up to two inches when it reaches maturity was already safe from threats of getting threatened and endangered and became the first fish species to do so in the United States.

The population of the glimmering fish species now reaches millions and the chubs are now freely swimming in Western Oregon’s Willamette River and its nearby waters.

The population of the ray-finned fish plummeted over the past 100 years as their habitat was threatened by urbanization and predation by largemouth bass which is not native to the area.

Almost two decades ago the chub’s population in eight wetlands dwindled to not more than 1,000. Facing extinction the chub obtained protection from Endangered Species Act in 1993. From then on the fish population gradually increased and its status of “endangered” improved to “threatened” in 2004.

To date, more than 150,000 chubs thrive in 80 sites along the Oregon Valley thanks to the gallant efforts like bringing back water flows, stocking in private ponds and floodplain renovation.

An Oregon supervisor with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, Paul Henson, said that the fish’s strong recovery put the limelight on how habitat improvement coupled with species recovery efforts can give rise in staving off endangerment and extinction of animals amid agricultural and urban development.

Henson also quipped that, “This shows the public that you can recover specie and do it in a way that works with local communities in a positive way, as opposed to being a contentious big event.”

Paul Sheerer, who spearheads the native fish project for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said that the Oregon chub is no longer fished commercially, and improvements to its habitat could be whipped up at a minimum cost to private landowners. These two factors helped in efforts to augment the chub’s population. Sheerer added that Oregon officials had been cheering on the resurgence of the Oregon chub. Other species of fishes like a trout and a sucker have also exhibited signs of recovery which are also protected by the Endangered Species Act.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe was slated to announce formally the exclusion of the Oregon chub from the list of endangered species in an event on Tuesday, but his flight from Washington, D.C. was canceled due to snow.

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