Our Klamath Basin
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
|Sucker fish return in
Herald and News 11/2/06
Bennetts, a fisheries biologist with the U.S.
Bureau of Reclamation, shakes a catch of fish
from a net set up in 2003 at the A Canal
headgates. H&N file photo
November 2, 2006 by STEVE KADEL, H&N Staff
It has been a banner year for suckers
and water quality conditions in the Upper
More larval and juvenile suckers reached
Upper Klamath Lake than any year since federal
agencies began counting 12 years ago
In August, the Klamath Project's A-Canal fish
screen and bypass facility at the southern part of
the lake recorded 4,000 juvenile suckers per hour
entering the lake. About 50 per hour were counted
Several factors helped, according to the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service.
Those included a wet winter and spring, a
cooler-than-average August, and fewer fathead
minnows in the lake this summer. The latter are a
key predator of larval suckers. Curt Mullis of the
Fish and Wildlife Service said the wet winter was
probably “the strongest thing we can hang our hat
on” as far as a cause.
He said there have been many restoration efforts
in the Sprague River area, but it's unknown how
much impact those projects had.
“We will be looking for that clue that will tell
us where we should go to find the keystone
actions,” Mullis said.
Beneficial water temperatures - lower than during
the previous three years - also helped create good
conditions for suckers. Another positive factor
was a high concentration of dissolved oxygen.
“If you have low dissolved oxygen it's like
cutting the oxygen supply to an organism, and it
makes it susceptible to disease,” Mullis said.
The shortnose and Lost River suckers were listed
as an endangered species in 1988. Upper Klamath
Lake is their primary habitat.
Mullis cautioned it's too early to believe suckers
are on their way to recovery. Suckers produced
this year must survive for five to 10 years to
mature, spawn, and contribute to an increased
“We're not getting over-confident,” Mullis said.
A new recovery plan for suckers is being written.
It updates the one Fish and Wildlife Service
completed in 1993, factoring in new science.
Mullis said agency officials will seek significant
public input as they hammer out the revision. One
of its goals is to determine a measuring stick to
“We'll try to get a handle on what recovery looks
like,” Mullis said.
Monday November 07, 2011 02:39 AM Pacific
Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2006, All Rights