Endangered Species Law and Policy

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Proposed Rule to List Zuni Bluehead Sucker as Endangered

On January 25, 2013, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to list the Zuni bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus yarrowi) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The sucker had been on the candidate list since 2001, when the Service determined that the species warranted protection under the ESA, but listing was precluded by higher priority listing activities.

The Zuni bluehead sucker has a torpedo-shaped body and bluish head.  The average length of a mature fish is approximately 200 centimeters (8 inches).  The species inhabits the Zuni River watershed in New Mexico, the Little Colorado watershed in eastern Arizona, and Canyon de Chelly in northeastern Arizona.  

In conjunction with its proposed listing, the Service also proposed designating 293 stream miles of critical habitat for the species in Arizona and New Mexico and on Navajo Nation land.  According to the Service, the species' habitat has been lost or degraded due to water withdrawal, logging, overgrazing, development, and erosion.

(Photograph courtesy of the Fish and Wildlife Service).

The public comment period for the proposed rule will close March 26, 2013.

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