A coalition of Inland Empire cities and water agencies are trying to halt a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan to designate critical habitat for the Santa Ana sucker. The two cities and 10 water agencies claim the Service's designation, upheld last month by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, unfairly imposes restrictions on water conservation, groundwater recharge and flood control operations that affect more than 1 million Southern California residents.
Scientific name: Catostomus santaanae
Description: Small to medium in size, with large, thick lips and small mouth used to vacuum algae and invertebrates from riverbeds and streams.
Preferred habitat: Clear, cool rocky pools and creeks; small to medium size rivers
Range: Small stretches of the Santa Ana and San Gabriel rivers and Big Tujunga Creek.
Life span: Two to four years
Cause of decline: Water diversions, dams, development, extreme alterations of stream channels, erosion, debris, pollution, heavy recreational use of waterways, nonnative species that prey on suckers and compete for habitat.
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service