Achieving Recovery: Genetic Integrity & Augmentation

  >   The mouth of the June sucker [left] is adapted for feeding on single-celled organisms (zooplankton) in the middle of the water column, while the mouth of the Utah sucker [right], with its fleshy lips, is adapted for bottom feeding. Special adaptations, called gill rakers, filter plankton from the water as it passes by June sucker gills.

In an effort to ensure the June sucker did not become extinct, since the early 1990s wild June sucker have been captured from the Provo River and artificially spawned. The thrust of this effort has been to develop brood stock, which represents, to the maximum extent possible, the genetic composition of the wild population. This is an ongoing effort.

Progeny from the artificial spawning program have been maintained in captivity and in several reservoirs and ponds. An important part of this recovery element has been to synthesize the existing information into a genetic management plan intended to guide spawning operations, production, augmentation, and refuge development. A warm water culture facility is expected to be operational in 2006, with the intention that large-scale stocking into Utah Lake could begin in 2008. In the meantime, interim facilities will be used to hold brood stock and conduct research necessary to answer key culture and production questions. Moderate-scale production of June sucker at interim facilities will provide fish to be used to answer important stocking questions prior to implementation of large-scale stocking efforts