A tiny minnow that lives only in Oregon backwaters is the first fish ever taken off U.S. Endangered Species Act protection because it is no longer threatened with extinction.
There are 85 U.S. species of fish listed as endangered and 71 listed as threatened, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service. Five types of fish, including the Tecopa pupfish of the California desert, have been delisted due to extinction in the 40 years since the law was enacted, said Paul Scheerer, leader of the native fishes project for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Oregon chub was listed as endangered in 1993. The species' status has recently improved
in 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a recovery plan for the Oregon chub. The goal of this plan is to reverse the decline of the Oregon chub by protecting existing wild populations, re-introducing chub into suitable habitats throughout its historic range, and increasing public awareness and involvement.
The recovery plan focused on establishing partnerships with landowners to restore key habitats, breeding and transplanting fish to those places, and getting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to alter dam releases to more closely resemble natural river flows. Private landowners who agreed to have chubs introduced on their property and to follow some guidelines were given safe harbor agreements guaranteeing the presence of the endangered fish would not interfere with their use of the land.