This Little Minnow Will Be the First Fish Ever Taken Off the Endangered Species List

Thanks to successful conservation efforts, the Oregon chub has successfully rebounded from near-extinction

Photo: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

In 1993, the Oregon chub seemed to be on its way out. The chub's habitat, the backwaters of the Willimette River in Oregon, had been drained to prevent flooding and promote farming, and fewer than 1,000 of the silver-speckled minnows still existed in the wild. And plenty of those were being gobbled up by invasive species. Confined to a few streams, things did not look good for the little fish.

Fast forward to 2014. In an enthusiastic announcement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just proposed that the Oregon chub be taken off the endangered species list. Populations have shot up to 150,000 and the fish seems to be well out of extinction's way. Such success stories are few and far between in conservation. In fact, if the FWS's proposal is approved, the Oregon chub will be the first fish species in the U.S. ever to be taken off of the endangered species list. (Extinction doesn't count.) A final decision and official delisting should be made sometime within the next year. 

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