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Bonneville Cutthroat Trout and Bluehead Sucker
in the Weber River: Endangered Species Act Implications?
Paul Thompson
Utah...
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
UDWR Mission
 To serve the people of Utah as a trustee and guardian of the state’s wi...
Structure of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Northern Region Office
 Manage wildlife and aquatic resources includ...
Bonneville Cutthroat Trout
Distribution
 Historically occurred throughout the Bear River and Bonneville Basin
 Stronghol...
Bonneville Cutthroat Trout
Resident versus Fluvial Life History
 Resident
 Majority of remaining populations
 Populatio...
Lower Weber Bonneville Cutthroat Trout Population
Lower Weber River BCT Fluvial Population
• Identified mainstem (n=5) and tributary (n=10) barriers
• Have provided passage...
Bluehead Sucker
Distribution/Background
 Historically occurred throughout the Green, Colorado, Bear, Snake and Weber rive...
Bluehead Sucker Distribution in the Weber River
Adjacent map created from 2003-2013
inventories
Monitoring indicates the s...
Threats to Bluehead Sucker in the Weber River
Loss of habitat connectivity (e.g., dams/diversions)
Habitat Degradation (e....
Partnerships Making a Difference
Diversion at the Mouth of Weber Canyon
• Project cost >½ million dollars
• 15 Cooperators...
Partnerships Making a Difference
Fish Salvage below Echo Dam
• Received a call from the Weber River Water Users Associatio...
How will the USFWS Evaluate a Bluehead Sucker Petition?
• Receive a Petition
• Evaluate petition for new and substantial i...
How will the USFWS Evaluate a Bluehead Sucker Petition?
We need to show positive conservation efforts through partnerships...
How Should We Move Forward?
Communication
Collaboration
Cooperation
We need to have a good track record with real results ...
Questions
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Weber River Partnership native species presentation

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Weber River Partnership native species presentation

  1. 1. Bonneville Cutthroat Trout and Bluehead Sucker in the Weber River: Endangered Species Act Implications? Paul Thompson Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
  2. 2. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources UDWR Mission  To serve the people of Utah as a trustee and guardian of the state’s wildlife UDWR Resource Goal  Expand wildlife populations and conserve sensitive species by protecting and improving wildlife habitat My Responsibility  Keep any species from being listed as federally threatened or endangered. If a species was to become listed: o We are not doing our job o The state loses management authority o Landowners, water managers, municipalities and counties can be negatively impacted UDWR Core Belief  Wildlife is valuable to everyone
  3. 3. Structure of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Northern Region Office  Manage wildlife and aquatic resources including their habitat in the entire Weber River Watershed  Two, unique fish species occur o Bonneville cutthroat trout o Bluehead sucker o Conservation actions are directed at both species to preclude the need for listing under the Endangered Species Act
  4. 4. Bonneville Cutthroat Trout Distribution  Historically occurred throughout the Bear River and Bonneville Basin  Stronghold populations still occur in the Weber River:  Lower Weber River  Lost Creek  Chalk Creek  Upper Weber River  Ogden River (South and North Forks) Conservation Efforts  UDWR and others have been actively managing and implementing conservation actions since the early 1970s  Was petitioned to be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1979, 1992, and 1998  USFWS found not warranted for federal listing  Sufficient number of populations  Active conservation of the species through partnerships Future Petition/Listing under ESA?  Unlikely with the amount of conservation actions previously taken, currently underway and planned in the future  Still potential for petition of an unique life history form - fluvial
  5. 5. Bonneville Cutthroat Trout Resident versus Fluvial Life History  Resident  Majority of remaining populations  Populations occur in smaller stream reaches where they complete their entire life cycle  Fish are often smaller in size  Fluvial  Few populations with this life cycle remain  Individuals grown larger and need to travel to complete its life cycle  A population of fluvial fish were recently discovered in the Lower Weber River  Significant challenge - number of barriers Resident Fluvial
  6. 6. Lower Weber Bonneville Cutthroat Trout Population
  7. 7. Lower Weber River BCT Fluvial Population • Identified mainstem (n=5) and tributary (n=10) barriers • Have provided passage at one mainstem barrier (mouth of Weber Canyon) and two tributary barriers (Gordon and Jacobs creeks) • Have secured funding to provide passage at one additional tributary barrier (Strawberry Creek) • Have screened two mainstem diversions
  8. 8. Bluehead Sucker Distribution/Background  Historically occurred throughout the Green, Colorado, Bear, Snake and Weber rivers  Recent genetic work has determined that two species exist (Hopken et al. 2013; Unmack et al. 2014)  Green/Colorado  Bear/Snake/Weber  Remaining populations in Utah:  Weber River – small population (<1,000)  Snake River – Raft River and Pole Creek  Bear River – none found, surveys still needed Conservation Efforts  UDWR and others have been actively managing and implementing conservation actions since the early 2000s  No federal petitions to date Future Petition/Listing under ESA?  Very likely, anticipating a petition to list possibly within the next 3-5 years  When new genetic information arises and splits a species into two groups  The weaker of the two is often petitioned  The Bear/Snake/Weber populations is the weaker of the two groups
  9. 9. Bluehead Sucker Distribution in the Weber River Adjacent map created from 2003-2013 inventories Monitoring indicates the strongest populations remain from Ogden upstream into Weber Canyon and from Morgan to Henefer
  10. 10. Threats to Bluehead Sucker in the Weber River Loss of habitat connectivity (e.g., dams/diversions) Habitat Degradation (e.g., channelization leading to loss of juvenile rearing habitats) Alteration in stream temperature (e.g., colder water between Echo/Rockport Res.) Alteration of the hydrograph  Reduced peak in spring runoff  Timing  Duration  Reduced or increased base flows Predation/Competition from other fish species
  11. 11. Partnerships Making a Difference Diversion at the Mouth of Weber Canyon • Project cost >½ million dollars • 15 Cooperators •Solidified an aging irrigation structure that had the potential to fail • Realized quantifiable water savings through modernizations and efficiencies •Modified and screened irrigation intakes on south and north sides • Easier to obtain water and reduced debris in ditches • Fish passage channel constructed • First fish to pass upstream at this diversion since the 1930s
  12. 12. Partnerships Making a Difference Fish Salvage below Echo Dam • Received a call from the Weber River Water Users Association • The spillway pool was to be drained for repairs • Did we have interest in salvaging fish? • Moved 10 bluehead sucker (9 juveniles) and 7 fluvial Bonneville cutthroat trout
  13. 13. How will the USFWS Evaluate a Bluehead Sucker Petition? • Receive a Petition • Evaluate petition for new and substantial information • If no, dismiss petition • If yes, complete a 12 month status review • Pull all information together and evaluate threats • Not warranted • Warranted • Define Critical Habitat (areas under a microscope and heavily regulated), in Utah: • Snake River • Bear River (at least downstream of Cutler Dam) • Weber River (at least downstream of Rockport Dam)
  14. 14. How will the USFWS Evaluate a Bluehead Sucker Petition? We need to show positive conservation efforts through partnerships Win Rangewide Conservation Plan (2006) Conservation Target in Weber River Plan Reconnected habitat at mouth of canyon Screened two irrigation ditches Determined population size Mitigation - one mainstem barrier Collaboration saved 10 bluehead suckers We still have much work ahead of us Loss Lack of awareness Other diversions were constructed/fortified >30 mainstem barriers Remaining ditches still open Populations are small Populations are declining Minimal recruitment Spawning locations unknown River is channelized Hydrograph has been altered 18 million recently spent on flood control Every day actions take place with negative consequences
  15. 15. How Should We Move Forward? Communication Collaboration Cooperation We need to have a good track record with real results and we can achieve this through partnerships
  16. 16. Questions

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