Sucker Fish Recovery Plan Released

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Wed, April 17 2013 at 3:49 PM, Updated: Wed, April 17 2013 at 3:58 PM

135 million dollars, and up to 50 years...

That's the estimated cost and time frame for restoring populations of endangered sucker fish in the Klamath Basin.

The Lost River and Shortnose sucker fish were listed as endangered species 25 years ago. 

Josh Rasmussen of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says a report that's been five years in the making was released this week outlining a recovery plan...

"We think it will cost about 135 million dollars to accomplish all of the tasks that are laid out in the recovery plan that was recently finalized."

Several steps have already been taken to help restore sucker fish populations.  Those steps include the installation of fish screens at the headgates to the 'A' canal, installation of fish ladders on the link river dam, restoration of the Williamson River Delta area, and removal of the Chiloquin dam.

Rasmussen says the study identifies habitat restoration as a major priority...

"To be able to make the habitat again suitable for the fish, both for juveniles, on up through adults."

Despite years of study, some mysteries remain.

One of the biggest questions related to sucker recovery is why juvenile sucker fish aren't surviving to sexual maturity...

"That's a good question."  Notes Rasmussen.  "We have a lot of possible candidates, among them water quality is probably the most probable candidate."

It's estimated that it could take 30 to 50 years for sucker numbers to rebound if the recovery plan is put in place.

If sucker numbers continue to drop, a 'controlled propagation program' could be used as a last resort to protect the species from extinction.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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