Last modified: Monday, September 16, 2013

Native aquatic species conservation programs

Utah State Tax check-off funds provide some financial support of Native Aquatic Species Conservation programs within the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. There is a broad diversity of species and activities that tax check off funds help support. State tax check-off funding is dispersed among different programs, allowing the fund to provide broad benefits. The power of the check-off funds is their availability to managers as matching funds, which are critical to bringing projects to fruition, especially for species not currently listed by the federal government.

Some of the species that benefit from these funds are listed by federal or state agencies as threatened or endangered. Some are not listed, but have been identified by UDWR as being at risk. Risks to these species usually are the result of reduced water in their natural habitats or threats from non-native species. A few current examples of the uses of tax check-off funds are presented below.

1. Surveys
Surveys on leatherside chub were completed in October 2000 in the Sevier River. The surveys were a week-long effort that included personnel from Utah State University and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. State tax check-off funds were matched with those from a private irrigation company and UDWR to support this important investigation.

2. Equipment
Tanks have been purchased with tax check-off and UDWR funds to hold June suckers at the Fisheries Experiment Station (FES) in Logan, Utah. June suckers are an endangered species that occur only in Utah Lake. The tanks are used to hold very young fish that will be transferred for grow-out and then be stocked in Utah Lake when the fish are large enough to survive on their own in the wild.

3. Collections and Monitoring
Tax check-off funds help support collection and monitoring of June sucker in Utah Lake and in protected refuge ponds in the Northern part of the state.

4. Non-native removal
In October 2000 a large effort, partially financed with tax check-off funds, was put into removing non-native mosquito fish from the Mona Springs ponds. Least chub, spotted frog, and California floater (a mussel) are all threatened or endangered species that have thrived historically in the Mona Springs. Non-native fish species can threaten natives through competition and predation.