Canyon Sketches Vol 21  January 2011

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On June 23, 2010, 300 juvenile humpback chub were translocated to Shinumo Creek as part of a multi-year conservation experiment to establish a second spawning aggregation of this endangered fish in Grand Canyon National Park.


This second translocation will augment the number of humpback chub remaining in Shinumo Creek following the 2009 translocation; and in the future, possibly provide an opportunity for rearing humpback chub in a natural environment outside of the Little Colorado River.

2010 Humpback Chub Translocation

Prior to the translocation, a 13-person crew led by GRCA fisheries biologist Brian Healy spent six days surveying the translocation reaches of Shinumo Creek to get population estimates of humpback chub and other native fish (bluehead suckers and speckled dace), and removing nonnative rainbow trout. A number of humpback chub from the 2009 translocation were captured during monitoring, and population estimates are pending. A crew returned to Shinumo Creek in September for additional monitoring.

Healy said, "I was really happy that we recaptured some of the humpback chub from the 2009 translocation. They seemed to be in really great shape after spending the winter there, and enduring exceptionally high spring snowmelt runoff."
Bluehead sucker
Bluehead sucker

A new aspect of this project in Shinumo Creek for 2010 is estimating populations of bluehead suckers and speckled dace by marking individual fish with fin clips or PIT tags, which are small microchips that uniquely identify each fish, that are emplaced in the abdomen of the fish that were caught during surveying.

Bluehead suckers have declined in portions of their range, and aspects of this project, such as nonnative trout removal, may benefit the species over the long-term.

Healy said, "Monitoring populations of native and nonnative fish in Shinumo Creek over time will allow us to assess the effects of our experimental native fish restoration efforts, and adapt them to achieve success."

The National Park Service is directing the Shinumo Creek humpback chub translocation experiment, in conjunction with the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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Last updated: February 7, 2018

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