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Status of Listed Species and Recovery Plan Development

Borax Lake Chub

Gila boraxobius -- Endangered


JPG-Borax Lake Chub     GIF-Occurrence map

Current Status:

The current population of this fish is threatened by water temperature and/or water depth changes related to the development of nearby geothermal resources. Also, physical destruction of the spring pool rim by frequent human visitation is a threat; water chemistry analyses have shown that lake conditions no longer support deposition of rim material through chemical precipitation. This could result in lake rim erosion and potentially the loss of the lake.


Memoranda of Understanding have been implemented among the Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Bureau of Land Management to promote and coordinate research and recovery efforts. Much has been learned about the species through intensive investigation of its biology, habitat, and behavior. The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Geological Survey, and Portland State University have done extensive geological survey work, helping to define the nature of the threat that might be posed by geothermal development in the area.

Current Recovery Needs:

Habitat of the Borax Lake chub is in private ownership and should be secured either through land acquisition or a conservation easement. Additionally, the quantity and quality of water in Borax Lake and its adjacent marshes should be maintained.

Section 6 Funding and Activities:

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife received $10,000 in FY 1991 and $20,000 in FY 1992 to study the Borax Lake chub and its habitat.


Bureau of Land Management: Through Memoranda of Understanding with The Nature Conservancy and a private landowner, this Federal agency is responsible for protecting the lake and its associated ecosystem. The Bureau has prohibited grazing, vehicle use, shoreline alterations, mining or geothermal exploration, and use of herbicides in or near the critical habitat. The agency is also providing personnel and funding for monitoring.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: The Borax Lake Chub Recovery Plan requires the Department to curtail water deliveries from Borax Lake, prevent herbicide use within critical habitat, prevent alterations to the lakeshore, monitor physical habitat, monitor fish and invertebrate populations, and evaluate the effectiveness of applicable laws and regulations to protect the species and its habitat. Except for curtailing lake water deliveries, all these requirements have been carried out. Much of this work has been subcontracted out to The Nature Conservancy.

The Nature Conservancy: This private organization, through Memoranda of Understanding, has assisted in protecting Borax Lake and its associated ecosystem.

Recovery Plan Status:

Plan approved 2/4/87.

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