Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing to remove the Borax Lake Chub from the State List of Threatened and Endangered species. The Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider the delisting at its meeting on Feb. 12.
Borax Lake chub are a unique minnow found only in Oregon’s Borax Lake and its surrounding wetlands (in the Alvord Desert of Harney County). When the species was first listed in 1980, its habitat was at risk due to diversion for irrigation, legacy effects of mining for borax (a compound used in cleaning and other products) and geothermal energy exploration.
Threats to their limited habitat were the primary reason for their listing under the federal ESA, which automatically put them on the state list when Oregon’s own ESA became law in 1987. Those threats have been addressed or removed thanks to natural resource agencies and their partners.
Population monitoring has shown no declining trends in abundance since it began in 1986, and the past two years have had the highest abundance estimates to date.
In April 2017, the Commission reclassified Borax Lake chub from “endangered” to “threatened.” In June of 2020, Borax Lake Chub were taken off of the federal ESA list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Based on the best available scientific data, ODFW has determined that Borax Lake Chub meet the state criteria for removal from the State List of Threatened and Endangered Species.
ODFW is seeking comment on this determination, which is available for review on the ODFW website at http://bit.ly/borax_chub.
Written comments should be submitted by email to Fish.Research@state.or.us, or by mail to ODFW, Attention: Borax Lake Chub Delisting, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr SE, Salem, OR 97302.
Comments must be received by Feb. 5, in order for them to be considered by staff prior to the Commission meeting.