On December 8, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule removing the Modoc sucker (Catostomus microps) from the list of threatened and endangered species. The Modoc sucker, a small fish native to the Upper Pit River Watershed in southern Oregon and northeastern California, was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1985. The listing was due to habitat loss and degradation resulting from overgrazing, as well as siltation and channelization from farming.
At the time the species was listed, the Service estimated that the sucker was found in only 12.9 miles of habitat in seven streams. In the recent final rule, the Service found that the sucker now occupies nearly its entire confirmed historical habitat, with its known distribution including an estimated 42.5 miles of occupied habitat in 12 streams. The Service largely attributes the species’ recovery to habitat restoration, including riparian habitat improvements, improved livestock grazing and management practices, creation and expansion of pool habitat, and juniper revetment (the use of cut juniper trees to stabilize streambanks).
In a statement, the Service also attributed the recovery of the species to “decades of collaborative conservation efforts” under the Endangered Species Act. The species is the second fish in the history of the Endangered Species Act to be delisted due to recovery.