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Relocation of Endangered Fish Spurs Recovery in Grand Canyon [Slide Show]

Against long odds, a milestone is reached in the efforts to improve the humpback chub's chances of survival

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DIFFICULT ACCESS:

To reach the translocation sites crew members must hike long distances in hot and dry conditions then spend a week stumbling through cold streams carrying heavy nets, batteries and buckets. Crews working in Shinumo Creek must then raft for several days to reach the takeout location. ....[ More ]

OUTREACH:

Brian Healy (center) gives an impromptu talk to a rafting party at the mouth of Havasu Creek. Educational outreach is an important component of the park service's fisheries management plan. ....[ More ]

NATIVE INTERESTS:

A Havasupai Ranger  (left) helps Brian Healy, Fisheries Program manager for Grand Canyon National Park, release translocated chub near the base of Beaver Falls in Havasu Creek. As part of its plan to conserve native fish, the National Park Service consults with 11 Native American tribes who have cultural ties to the Grand Canyon.....[ More ]

LITTLE COLORADO:

Some Hopi clans believe the Little Colorado River is the location where their ancestors emerged into the current world. The turquoise-blue tributary hosts the world's largest remaining population of humpback chub and is also an important source of sediment for replenishing the Grand Canyon's diminishing beaches. ....[ More ]

UNTAGGED JUVENILE:

Young humpback chub are silver, have small eyes and large fins, and have not yet developed the namesake hump. This is one of two juveniles found in May that did not have an identification tag, providing the first evidence that translocated chub may be reproducing in Havasu Creek. ....[ More ]

TAGGING:

Using a small syringe, crew members carefully implant tiny passive integrated transponder tags, each emitting a unique hexadecimal code, near the abdomen of live native fish found in Grand Canyon tributaries. ....[ More ]

BLUEHEAD SUCKER:

One of eight native fish species indigenous to the Colorado River system, bluehead sucker ( Catostomus discobolus ) are widely distributed but found in relatively small numbers in the Grand Canyon. They are omnivorous bottom feeders whose large, puckered maws scrape diatoms, aquatic invertebrates and algae from the rocky substrate. ....[ More ]

HOOPLA:

After baiting and anchoring one large hoop net and two smaller minnow traps at each station for 24 hours, crew members retrieve them, hoping to find native fish inside. Normally crystal clear, Shinumo Creek was running a vivid red color in September due to the large amounts of sediment carried during record-setting rains.....[ More ]

CLEAR WATER:

Once so laden with sediment that the Spanish christened it colorado, meaning reddish, the river exiting Glen Canyon Dam today runs a vivid blue-green and is cold and clear year-round. ....[ More ]

CONCRETE WEDGE:

Looming 216 meters tall, massive Glen Canyon Dam impounds Lake Powell, the U.S.'s second-largest reservoir. The dam was completed in 1963 to sustain the lower Colorado River Basin in times of drought, to generate electricity and to tame the river's unruly flows, which could vary 600 percent from one year to the next. ....[ More ]

HUMPED BACK:

Named for the distinctive bulge behind their heads, native humpback chub ( Gila cypha ) thrived in the turbid conditions characteristic of the Colorado River before the construction of Glen Canyon and other dams.....[ More ]

FLYING FISH:

As part of a coordinated effort to save an endangered species, the National Park Service and its cooperating agencies have released nearly 2,000 wild humpback chub in two remote tributaries in Grand Canyon National Park.....[ More ]

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