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25 years after Endangered Species Act listing, Guardians’ vision for silvery minnow recovery

Rethinking the Rio Grande will recover this now-rare fish

July 18, 2019

Saturday, July 20, 2019, marks 25 years since the Rio Grande silvery minnow was listed under the Endangered Species Act. But the last quarter-century hasn’t been kind to the minnow, and the federal government is failing in its duties to recover the fish. The minnow now occupies only seven percent of its historic range, and its population decreased 99.5 percent from 2017-2018.

“The health of the minnow indicates the health of the river. And right now it’s not looking good,” said Guardians’ Galen Hecht.

Fortunately, Guardians has a solution that will save the minnow and the Rio Grande: rethinking how people use and store water. One example is moving water storage upstream to higher-elevation reservoirs, which could save more than 100,000 acre-feet of water per year (low-elevation reservoirs lose a huge amount of surface water to evaporation). Guardians also advocates for changes in water management, in light of the fact that climate change will have drastic impacts on the Rio’s flows.

Guardians has launched the Living Rio Campaign to restore the Rio Grande. Read the press release for more information on campaign kickoff events throughout New Mexico this summer.

Read the report “The Rio Grande: Rethinking Rivers in the 21st century” for more on water storage.

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