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Photo credit: Aimee Robertson, USFWS

Rio Grande silvery minnow (Hybognathus amarus) | ESA status: endangered

Rio Grande silvery minnow

The Rio Grande silvery minnow loses miles of habitat to water withdrawal every year; this dwindling fish is an indicator of failing, outdated water policy on the Rio Grande.

Rio Grande silvery minnow habitat

The Rio Grande silvery minnow lives only in its namesake river, the Rio Grande. Historically, it was found in the Rio from Española, New Mexico, through Texas to the Gulf of Mexico, and also in the Pecos River from Santa Rosa to the confluence with the Rio. Today, the minnow is only found in one reach of the Rio: the stretch from Cochiti Dam to the headwaters of Elephant Butte reservoir. This is about seven percent of its historic range.

What are the threats to the Rio Grande silvery minnow?

Water withdrawal from the Rio, mainly for agriculture, has left the minnow literally high and dry. Miles and miles of its critical habitat dry up nearly every year during peak withdrawal periods, and every time, the minnow population plummets.

What WildEarth Guardians is doing to protect the Rio Grande silvery minnow

Guardians has long been urging water management authorities to rethink rivers in order to restore in-stream flows. We are focused on getting the Rio Grande the right to its own water to ensure that the minnows’ habitat never goes dry again.