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Oregon Chub


Oregon chub, Oregonichthys crameri, are endemic to the Willamette Valley of western Oregon. This species was formerly distributed throughout the Willamette Valley in off-channel habitats such as beaver ponds, oxbows, stable backwater sloughs, and flooded marshes. These habitats usually have little or no water flow, silty and organic substrate, and considerable aquatic vegetation and cover for hiding and spawning. In the last 100 years, these habitats have disappeared because of changes in seasonal flows resulting from the construction of dams throughout the basin, channelization, revetments, diking, drainage of wetlands, and agricultural practices. This loss of habitat combined with the introduction of nonnative species to the Willamette Valley such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and western mosquitofish has resulted in a sharp decline in Oregon chub abundance. The reduction of suitable habitat and the restricted distribution of the Oregon chub resulted in a determination of "endangered" status under the federal endangered species act in 1993.  The species was downlisted to “threatened” status in 2010.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) conducted surveys throughout the Willamette River Valley in 1991-present. The surveys provide information on the distribution and abundance of Oregon chub, life history characters, the distribution of native and nonnative species, the characteristics of historic Oregon chub habitats, the characteristics of potential reintroduction sites, and the status of Oregon chub reintroductions.

Historically, Oregon chub were found throughout the Willamette River drainage from Oregon City to Oakridge. The historical records note collections from the Clackamas River, Molalla River, Mill Creek, Luckiamute River, North Santiam River, South Santiam River, Calapooia River, Long Tom River, Muddy Creek, McKenzie River, Coast Fork Willamette River, Middle Fork Willamette River drainages, and the mainstem Willamette River. Current distribution includes populations in the Santiam River, Marys River, Muddy Creek, McKenzie River, Coast Fork Willamette River, and the Middle Fork Willamette River drainages. The majority of the populations are located in the Middle Fork Willamette River drainage.

The Oregon Chub Recovery Plan sets recovery goals for downlisting the species to “threatened” and for delisting the species. The criteria for downlisting the species to “threatened” are to establish and manage ten populations of at least 500 adult fish. All populations must exhibit a stable or increasing trend for five years and at least three populations must be located in each of the three recovery areas: Middle Fork Willamette River, Santiam River, and Mid-Willamette River tributaries. The criteria for delisting the species to “threatened” are to establish and manage 20 populations of at least 500 adult fish. All populations must exhibit a stable or increasing trend for seven years and at least four populations must be located in each of the three recovery areas.

Substantial progress has been made in the recovery of this species.  In 2007, we met the downlisting criteria and the species was downlisted in 2010.  When the species was listed in 1993, there were eight known populations.  In 2010, there were 50 known populations and 19 had stable or increasing seven-year abundance trends.  Much of this progress was accomplished through the successful introduction of Oregon chub into new locations within their historical range (16 locations) and the discovery of new, previously-undocumented populations (28 locations).

A number of the introduced populations are on private lands.  Prior to conducting introductions on private lands, a “Safe Harbor” landowner agreement is formalized.  A Safe Harbor Agreement is a voluntary agreement involving private or non-Federal property owners whose actions contribute to the recovery of an ESA listed species.  To expedite the introduction of Oregon chub onto private properties, the USFWS completed a “Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement” with ODFW in 2009.  In exchange for their efforts, participating landowners receive formal assurances from the USFWS that if they fulfill the conditions of the Safe Harbor Agreement, the USFWS will not require any additional or different management activities of the landowners without their consent.  The agreement allows ODFW to enroll landowners by issuing “Certificates of Inclusion” under their permit (see link below), thus speeding up a previously lengthy process.

In 2008, ODFW mapped critical habitat for Oregon chub and in 2009, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) designated critical habitat for the species.The USFWS included 25 Oregon chub sites in their designation.  Habitats were selected based on their physical and biological features, as well as their ability to support large (>500) populations of Oregon chub.

In 2009, ODFW initiated floodplain monitoring investigations which included initiating a study in the Middle Fork Willamette subbasin to assess those factors that may allow Oregon chub to co-exist with nonnative fishes in connected (non-isolated) habitats.  In this study, we will assess the effects of modified flow and temperature regimes on the suitability of off-channel habitats for Oregon chub (availability of aquatic vegetation and temperatures conducive for successful spawning) and effects of the timing, frequency, magnitude and duration of site connectivity on the composition of fish assemblages (native and nonnative).  We will attempt to determine the combination of flow, temperature, and habitat modifications that favor native fishes, including chub, over nonnative predatory fishes.  During this multi-year study, we will assess the effects of modified flow and temperature regimes on the suitability of off-channel habitats for Oregon chub (availability of aquatic vegetation and temperatures conducive for successful spawning) and effects of the timing, frequency, magnitude and duration of site connectivity on the composition of fish assemblages (native and nonnative).  We are also testing the feasibility of using larval drift nets to assess movement patterns of larval chub and micro-PIT tags to track movements of adult Oregon chub.  The data we acquire from these studies will also be used to assess the impacts of proposed floodplain restoration and reconnection projects on Oregon chub populations and their habitats.  Ultimately, we hope to determine the combination of flow, temperature, and habitat modifications that favor native fishes, including chub, over nonnative predatory fishes.  Ideally, these data, when used by managers to enhance off-channel habitat conditions for Oregon chub, will contribute to the delisting of the species. 

In 2010, the USFWS completed a genetics study of Oregon chub.  The study found populations were structured according to major tributary drainage basins, found high levels of genetic variation at most locations, and found introductions from multiple donor sources had higher variability than those from single donor sources.

 

Annual Reports and Publications:

Bangs, B. L., P. D. Scheerer, S. Clements. 2013. 2013 Oregon Chub Investigations. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fish Research Project EF-13, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

Bangs, B. L., P. D. Scheerer, S. Clements. 2012. 2012 Oregon Chub Investigations. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fish Research Project EF-12, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

Bangs, B. L., P. D. Scheerer, B. J. Priz, B. L. Berger, P. Hayden, and R. L. Jacobsen. 2011. 2011 Oregon Chub Investigations. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fish Research Project EF-11, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

Bangs, B. L., P. D. Scheerer, S.A. Miller. 2011. Effects of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Willamette Project Operations on Oregon chub and other floodplain fishes (2009-2010). Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

Bangs, B. L., P. D. Scheerer, R. L. Jacobsen, and S. E. Jacobs. 2010. 2010 Oregon Chub Investigations. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fish Research Project EF-10, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

DeHaan, P., P. Scheerer, and R. Rhew. 2010. Analyses of genetic variation in natural and re-introduced populations of Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri). Report submitted to US Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, OR.

Scheerer P. D., and T. A. O'Neill. 2010. A species crediting methodology that supports conservation banking for an endangered floodplain minnow. Fisheries 35(6):280-291

Bangs, B. L., P. D. Scheerer, and S.E. Jacobs. 2010. Effects of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Willamette Project Operations on Oregon chub and other floodplain fishes. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Progress Report, Corvallis, OR.

Bangs, B. L., P. Scheerer, S. Kramer, and S. Jacobs. 2009. 2009 Oregon Chub Investigations. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fish Research Project EF-09, Annual Progress Report, Salem.

Bangs, B. L., P. Scheerer, S. Tippery, M. Weeber, and S. Jacobs. 2008. 2008 Oregon Chub Investigations. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fish Research Project EF-08, Annual Progress Report, Salem.

Scheerer, P. D.  2007.  Improved Status of the Endangered Oregon Chub in the Willamette River, Oregon.  In: Status, distribution and conservation of native freshwater fishes of Western North America: a symposium proceedings.  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Symposium 53:91-102.

Scheerer, P. D., M. Terwilliger, and S. E. Jacobs.  2007.  Willamette Valley Projects- Lookout Point- Oregon Chub (2007), Fish Research Project FW2007-01, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

Scheerer, P. D., P.S. Kavanagh, B. Bangs, and S. E. Jacobs.  2007.  2007 Oregon Chub Investigations. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fish Research Project EF-07, Annual Progress Report, Salem.

Scheerer, P. D.  2007.  Threatened fishes of the world: Oregonichthys crameri (Snyder, 1908) (Cyprinidae).  Environmental Biology of Fishes 80:493-494.

Scheerer, P.D., M. Terwilliger, and S. E. Jacobs. 2006. Willamette Valley Projects- Lookout Point- Oregon Chub (2006), Fish Research Project FW2006-02, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

Scheerer, P. D., P. S. Kavanagh, B. L. Bangs, and S. E. Jacobs. 2006. 2006 OPRD- Oregon Chub Population Monitoring on Oregon State Parks Lands in the Willamette Valley Scheerer, P. D., P. S. Kavanagh, B. L. Bangs, and S. E. Jacobs. 2006. 2006 Oregon Chub Investigations. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fish Research Project EF-06, Annual Progress Report, Salem.

Scheerer, P. D., S. E. Jacobs, and M. Terwilliger.  2005.  Monitoring of Hospital Pond (2005): Willamette Basin Oregon Chub Investigations, Monitoring, and Management, Fish Research Project W66QKZ13304328, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis. 

Scheerer, P. D., and M. Terwilliger. 2005. Monitoring of Hospital Pond (2004): Willamette basin Oregon chub investigations, monitoring, and management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fish Research Project W66QKZ13304328, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

Scheerer, P. D., P.S. Kavanagh, S. Davis, and S. E. Jacobs.  20052005 Oregon chub investigations

Scheerer, P. D. 2004. ODOT Oregon chub surveys. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fish Research Project 20675, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

Scheerer, P. D. 2004. Population and habitat assessments for Oregon chub on the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge (2004). Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fish Research Project 1448-13420-03-M194, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

Scheerer, P. D. 2004. Management Plan for Oregon Department of Transportation Properties that Support Populations of the Endangered Oregon Chub. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fish Research Contract #1448-13420-03-M145, Annual Progress Report, Corvallis.

Scheerer, P. D., P. S. Kavanagh, and S. E. Jacobs. 2004. 2004 Oregon chub investigations. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fish Research Project EF-04, Annual Progress Report, Salem.

Scheerer, P.D. 2003. Oregon Chub Investigations 2003 Progress Reportt. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Fish Research Project E-2-34, Annual Progress Report,

Scheerer, P. D., and P. J. McDonald. 2003. Age and growth and timing of spawning of an endangered minnow, the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri), in the Willamette Basin, Oregon. Northwestern Naturalist 84:68-79.

Scheerer, P. D. 2002. Implications of Floodplain Isolation and Connectivity on the Conservation of an Endangered Minnow, Oregon Chub, in the Willamette River, Oregon. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 131:1070-1080.

Scheerer, P.D. 1999. Oregon Chub Research in the Willamette Valley 1991-99. Fish Research Project Annual Progress Report EF-91 VII-1. Portland.

 

Relevant Information:

Federal Register. 2010a. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reclassification of the Oregon Chub From Endangered to Threatened; Final rule. 75:21, 179-21,189.

Federal Register. 2010b. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri); Final rule. 75:11, 010-11,067.

Federal Register. 2009. Proposed Programmatic Safe harbor Agreement for Oregon Chub, Willamette Valley, OR. Notice of availability; receipt of application. 74:23, 431-23,432.

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1998. Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) Recovery plan. Portland, OR: USDI Fish and Wildlife Service.

Send comments or questions regarding this webpage to  Shaun.Clements@oregonstate.edu