December 3rd, 2006 06:03 EST
Program to Recover Endangered Fish in The San Juan River Extended
The Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne joined the governors of the States of Colorado and New Mexico as well as representatives of the Navajo Nation, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe to renew their commitment to a nationally recognized program that is working to recover endangered fishes in the San Juan River while water development proceeds in accordance with state and federal laws.
These leaders signed an extension of a cooperative agreement for the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program that will extend the Recovery Program through 2023. The extension will ensure the continued cooperative work to recover the endangered Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker while future water development occurs for agricultural, hydroelectric and municipal uses in the San Juan River Basin.
"The extension of the cooperative agreement demonstrates the commitment of the States and Tribes to seeing the San Juan River Recovery Program succeed," said New Mexico State Administrator Brian Millsap. "These partners have put their faith in the program since it was established 14 years ago. They have worked closely together to develop creative and effective ways to meet the dual goals of endangered species recovery and water development."
Established in 1992, the Recovery Program is a voluntary, cooperative program involving Native American tribes, federal and state agencies, and water development interests in Colorado and New Mexico.
The main goals implemented through the program are to conserve populations of the Colorado pikeminnow and the razorback sucker, and to continue with the water development in the Basin in compliance with Federal and state laws, interstate compacts,
Supreme Court decrees and federal trust responsibilities to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Navajo Nation.
"The agreement is an example of how cooperation between tribes, states and the federal government solves difficult natural resource problems in the west," said Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Benjamin N. Tuggle, Ph.D. "We not only offset the impact of development but we recover endangered species."
As a result of the cooperative effort, biologists are seeing signs of recovery in both the razorback sucker and Colorado pikeminnow populations. Stocked fish have been captured at spawning sites in reproductive condition and captures of young fish in the San Juan River demonstrate that these endangered fish are successfully reproducing. Overall habitat for native fish in the river has improved and water development for agricultural, municipal and hydroelectric projects has been able to continue.
"The program's early years consisted of extensive research into the habitat and life requirements of the fish species," said David Campbell, the program's director. "We are now at a juncture where recommended management actions are improving the quality of river habitat. This is reflected in growing populations of razorback sucker and Colorado pikeminnow. The extension of the program will allow for continued efforts to recover these rare fish."For more information, call 505-761-4745 or visit the Recovery Program's website: http://southwest.fws.gov/sjrip.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations.
The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts.
It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. Visit the Service's website at http://www.fws.gov.
Source:U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service