The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing two Western minnows in the West as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The agency says human activity has caused the numbers of two chub species to dwindle. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.
Fish and Wildlife says mining, livestock overgrazing and water pollution have shrunk roundtail chub habitat in the Lower Colorado River Basin. Also known as the Verde trout, it now occupies 52* percent of its historical range in the Little Colorado River and drainages of the Verde River, and other Southwestern waterways.
The headwater chub lives in some Verde River tributaries and New Mexico’s Gila River.
Wildlife officials say both chub species are vital to headwater ecosystems as well as local economies. Under the proposal, federal officials would work with Arizona and New Mexico wildlife agencies to establish recovery plans.
A “threatened” listing would ban catching the fish, and would also allow for the removal of non-native predator fish in some areas.
A public comment period on the proposal lasts until early December.
*An earlier version of this story misreported this figure.