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Guardians seeks protections for Rio Grande fish

River mismanagement threatens Rio Grande shiner

January 21, 2020

Guardians has submitted a scientific petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting the agency protect the Rio Grande shiner under the Endangered Species Act.

The shiner, a small freshwater fish endemic to the Rio Grande Basin, once inhabited 2,600 miles of the Rio Grande and Pecos Rivers. It has already completely vanished from the Rio Grande in New Mexico and from large portions of the Rio Grande along the Texas-Mexico border. It is now only found in the Rio Grande in Texas between Presidio and Amistad Reservoir and in the Pecos River in New Mexico between the Fort Sumner Irrigation District Dam and Brantley Reservoir, which is about 500 river miles–less than 20 percent of its historic range. Dewatering rivers for human uses, fragmenting habitat due to dams and diversions, and artificially augmenting rivers’ flows all create danger for the shiner.

“The Rio Grande shiner is just one of the many aquatic and riparian species that will not survive into the next century without a significant change in the way we value and manage rivers for both people and the environment,” said Guardians’ Jen Pelz.

Read the press release.

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