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Sucker recovery cost: $135M

  Plan will take decades: Conservation efforts have prevented extinction but serious threats remain

  by DEVAN SCHWARTZ, Herald and News 4/16/13

     Recovery of endangered Lost River and shortnose sucker will cost $135 million over multiple decades,   according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

   While recent conservation efforts have prevented sucker extinction, USFWS said serious threats remain. A news release points out   how juvenile sucker are not surviving long enough to replace older generations.

   Spokesman Matt Baun said the problem is a lack of recruitment. “Recruitment is defined as juvenile fish   not surviving long enough to join some segment of a population, typically the adult population. These fish are simply dying before they reach sexual maturity. Both species have not shown measurable   recruitment into the adult population since 1998.”

   Baun said 7 percent of adult Lost River sucker die every year and 10 percent     of shortnose sucker, leading to declines of 40 and 75 percent respectively in the last decade.

   In 2012, USFWS designated 282 miles of streams and 241,438 acres of lakes and reservoirs as critical habitat. They define critical habitat as areas that contain the physical and biological features essential for the conservation of the species.

   He added that the final recovery plan explains the status of the sucker and how all the limiting factors can be reduced to the point they thrive in Upper Klamath Lake.

   “The ESA is all about trying to protect these species until the point they no longer need federal protection,” Baun said.

   The recovery plan sets a price tag of $135 million over 30 to 50 years in order to potentially downlist the species to threatened or even delist them (which would remove all ESA protections).

   “We’re not advocating for that money we’re just disclosing what the price tag for recovery is,” Baun said.

   He said the plan has gone through a peer and public review process and is designed to guide decision-makers in the policy and scientific communities on how best to achieve sucker recovery.

   The final recovery plan was released Monday and can be accessed at  tinyurl.com/c8qxubo  .



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