Roundtail chub nursery pond created by Moab City, DWR

Sep 19, 2023, 5:00 PM

A roundtail chub out of water....

FILE - Dale Ryden, project leader with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s endangered fish recovery program, holds a roundtail chub that was caught in the Redlands Fish Ladder. (Amy Joi O'Donoghue/Deseret News)

(Amy Joi O'Donoghue/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said it has partnered with Moab City to create a nursery pond to raise roundtail chub. Once considered a species of greatest conservation need, the species’ population has increased in recent years. The DWR intends to aid the continued support of the fish’s growth with the new pond.

“The purpose of this nursery is to grow and then restock roundtail chub back into the river systems to help increase their populations throughout the Colorado River Basin,” DWR Native Aquatics Biologist Tyler Arnold said in a press release from the division.

The Colorado, Green, and San Juan rivers and their tributaries are the only places the species resides, according to the DWR. 

Thirty-one roundtail chub were netted in the Dolores River and tested for disease. After, they were transported to their new home in the nursery pond. 

Their new residence is the Old City Park Pond in Moab. It is the second nursery pond intended for the species, according to the DWR. 

The first is Cottonwood Pond in Emery County. 

Arnold said that Old City Park Pond is the ideal location for the nursery. The DWR expects the species’ growth and reproduction to succeed, due to the pond’s location and water conditions. 

What are roundtail chub?

Roundtail chub are a larger minnow species, according to the DWR. They are native to the Colorado River system. 

The species got its name from the round shape of where its caudal fin and body connect. In the early summer, they often exhibit a vibrant orange belly, the DWR said. 

Several factors drove the population decline. Dams and diversions changed the water flow in the river. Invasive species such as the northern pike, channel catfish, smallmouth bass, and walleye fish were introduced. They are all predators of the roundtail chub, said the DWR. 

The DWR and its partners have worked on a variety of projects to improve their habitat. Biologists have also worked to remove many of the large, invasive predatory fish that have made their way into the habitats. These species include 

Ongoing conservation efforts have resulted in increased roundtail chub populations. Last year, the fish were reclassified as sportfish, according to the DWR. 

Moab has prohibited fishing in Old City Park Pond. The DWR currently plans to stock the fish into other rivers in 2025. 

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Roundtail chub nursery pond created by Moab City, DWR