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Sacramento Splittail Pogonichthys macrolepidotus


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Family: Cyprinidae, Carps and Minnows view all from this family

Dimensions To 14" (36 cm).

Endangered Status The Sacramento Splittail is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as threatened throughout its range in California. This fish, like so many others in the West, has declined because dams, reservoirs, and water diversion channels have limited its habitat and erected barriers to its spawning grounds. It may seem a clear-cut candidate for listing, but its journey through the bureaucratic processes has not been easy, and isn’t over yet. In 1994 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed the Sacramento Splittail for threatened status, and, as is usual, requested public comment. The FWS opened and closed the comment period several times over the next few years, and the fish was never officially listed. In 1998 the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity filed a suit in federal court in order to force the FWS to make a determination as to the splittail’s status. The FWS was ordered to make a determination, and the fish was officially listed in February 1999. Opposing groups (the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority and the State Water Contractors) then sued the FWS, challenging the listing – and won. The FWS was ordered to reevaluate the listing, and the comment period was opened again while the FWS collected data on the fish’s abundance and range and on the measures taken to protect it. As of June 2001, a final ruling has not yet been made.

Habitat Rivers & streams, Lakes & ponds.

Range California.