National Park Service biologists discovered good news in their efforts to recover the endangered humpback chub — for the first time the translocated fish were found spawning in Havasu Creek at Grand Canyon National Park.
It marks the first time signs of humpback chub reproduction have been found in Havasu Creek, where scientist have attempted to establish the first chub population outside of the Little Colorado River in the park.
The humpback chub is an endangered fish species found only in the Colorado River basin. Although the fish, identifiable by a pronounced hump behind its head, once flourished in the Colorado River, changes to the seasonal flows and introduction of non-native fish species have drastically reduced chub populations.
Indications of spawning activity were found on a fisheries monitoring trip two weeks ago, according to the park service. Biologists for the first time employed ultrasound imaging equipment to determine if female humpback chub were developing eggs. The technology allows researchers to detect the presence of eggs without needing to dissect the fish.