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A Colorado River fish species moves from 'endangered' to 'threatened'

A humpback chub.
USFWS Mountain-Prairie

The humpback chub, an important fish species in the Colorado River basin, moves from endangered to threatened starting tomorrow. 


The species was listed as endangered more than 50 years ago, when new dams on the river interfered with its whitewater habitats in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. The new status marks progress, but conservationists - like Jen Pelz with Wild Earth Guardians - say it’s not the right move. 


Pelz says, “Downlisting isn’t the answer. I think that you keep doing the things and you keep justifying the program because it’s clearly working. The species is not in as dire a state as it was 30 years ago. But the reality is one project on a certain tributary could completely wipe out the species.”


The humpback chub is seen as an indicator species: when it's doing well, so is the river. But Pelz also said the effects of climate change could further threaten the fish.