The Mitigation Commission is directly involved, with numerous federal, state and local entities, in measures to recover
sucker (Chasmistes liorus), a fish endemic to Utah that naturally
occurs only in Utah Lake and spawns only in the lower Provo River. Human
settlement, development and use of water for irrigation, municipal and
industrial purposes resulted in hydrological and habitat changes in Utah
Lake and its tributaries. These, in addition to the more than twenty non-native
species introduced into Utah Lake, contributed to the decline of June sucker.
Small populations of June sucker have been established in a few other locations,
such as Red Butte Reservoir above Salt Lake City, as temporary refuge to
guard against a catastrophic loss in Utah Lake.
Fish and Wildlife Service listed the June sucker as endangered with
critical habitat in 1986. The species had a documented wild population
of fewer than 1,000 individuals at the time of listing. In 1987, the wild
spawning population was estimated to be between 311 and 515 individuals.
Mitigation Commission projects aiding
June sucker recovery are: supporting development of a comprehensive Utah
Lake Fish Management Plan that will help clarify how to
best manage Utah lake to improve sport fishery opportunities
while achieving recovery of June sucker; modifying lower Provo River diversion dams that interfere with June sucker spawning and fish passage [click here to link to a 2001 study that evaluated these diversion dams]; acquiring lower
Provo River instream flows and investigating
strategies to lower high flow releases; and, developing a native aquatic species and warm-water sport-fish hatchery that will produce June sucker,
least chub, leatherside chub, roundtail chub and flannelmouth
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a June
Sucker Recovery Plan in 1999. The Mitigation Commission and several other
agencies and groups committed to work cooperatively to develop a Recovery Implementation
for June sucker. A final environmental assessment on agency participation in
the June sucker recovery implementation program has been published. The Mitigation
Commission's participation in the program was formalized on April 17, 2002. The
program establishes a multi-agency cooperative effort to implement the June Sucker
Recovery Plan by funding, coordinating and facilitating
June sucker recovery, while balancing and accommodating water resource
[Click here to link to the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program web site.]
The June Sucker Recovery Plan lists, among many other things, establishment of a second spawning run in a tributary to Utah Lake other
than Provo River as a requirement for long-term protection and eventual recovery of the June
sucker. Efforts are being implemented by the JSRIP and other entities to establish Hobble Creek
as this second spawning tributary. (June sucker historically used Hobble Creek for spawning.) These efforts include reconstruction and restoration of the
lower Hobble Creek channel where it enters Utah Lake, which was
completed in late summer 2008,
and delivery of
supplemental flows to lower Hobble Creek.
The Commission completed a report describing ecosystem flow recommendations for
the lower Provo River. [Click here to download LOWER PROVO RIVER ECOSYSTEM FLOW RECOMMENDATIONS
FINAL REPORT, September 2008.] The framework developed for the Provo River
recommendations was applied to lower Hobble Creek. In April 2009, the Commission completed a report describing the process and products of developing year-round instream flow
recommendations for lower Hobble Creek. The guiding principle for the study is that the recommended flow regime for lower Hobble
Creek should protect the entire riverine ecosystem year-round. [Click here to download Lower Hobble Creek Ecosystem Flow Recommendations Report, April 2009.]
In April 2013, a final Environmental Assessment of the East Hobble Creek Restoration Project was released [click here to download]. The proposed action includes: Hobble Creek habitat restoration and stream channel enhancement within Hobble Creek (between I-15 and 400 West); modification or removal of diversion structures (while maintaining legal diversions); provision of additional stream flows; adopting the Lower Hobble Creek Ecosystem Flow Recommendations report; and, use of Hobble Creek Valve Station for release of supplemental stream flows.
In addition, the Mitigation Commission and U.S. Department of the Interior's Central Utah Project Completion Act Office and Central Utah Water Conservancy District, on behalf of the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program, have completed a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposed stream channel and delta restoration project for the lower Provo River and its interface with Utah Lake. [Click here to link to the project website] The proposed Provo River Delta Restoration Project (PRDRP) would restore, enhance or create habitat conditions in the lower Provo River and its interface with Utah Lake (the delta) that are essential for spawning, hatching, larval transport, survival, rearing and recruitment of June sucker to the adult stage. Another project purpose is to provide recreational improvements and opportunities associated with the habitat restoration.
A public meeting was held on March 25, 2010 to notify the public of the intent to prepare the EIS and to solicit comments from the public, as well as private companies and public agencies. The public meeting and several other efforts to identify project issues were used in preparing the Provo River Delta Restoration Project Scoping Summary Report, May 31, 2010. (Scoping is the process of identifying significant issues that must be address in an EIS). You may download the report (pdf 2.79MB) by clicking here. A public Open House and two workshops were held between December 2011 and January 2012 to provide further information to the public, and meetings have been held with affected landowners to gather more input for preparing the draft EIS. The draft EIS was released for public review and comment in Aprl 2014.