Federal program targets pikeminnow, razorback sucker

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FARMINGTON — The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $1.1 million contract to the Navajo Nation to assist in the recovery of two endangered fish populations in the San Juan River.

Under the contract, the tribal government will partner in the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program, according to a U.S. Department of the Interior press release.

The program oversees the recuperation of the Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker as the development of resources continue in the Colorado River Basin, the release states.

The tribe will aid recovery efforts, including operating facilities that allow fish to pass and raising endangered fish in ponds on the reservation.

Once the fish have grown to more than 12 inches, they will be relocated into the river in hopes they will spawn and produce offspring, the release states.

In addition, the contract will help the Navajo Nation by providing biologists and equipment to help facilitate the continued management of the Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker.

"Under this program, it is anticipated these actions also will provide benefits to other native fishes in the basin and prevent them from becoming endangered in the future," the release states.

The recovery program includes participation by the Bureau of Reclamation along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe and the states of New Mexico and Colorado.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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