For tens of thousands of years, Santa Ana suckers have survived floods, droughts and other natural events. But this rare fish with a funny face is now threatened with extinction in its namesake river, the Santa Ana.
The sucker currently lives in just four to 10 miles of the Santa Ana that's fed primarily by outflows from water treatment plants. However, the plant that provides most of this water is proposing to divert more than two-thirds of its outflow away from the river into spreading basins for groundwater replenishment. This would cause major portions of the sucker's habitat to go dry, threatening to extirpate the fish from the river.
The proposal also would hurt southwestern willow flycatchers and least Bell's vireos, threatened birds that rely on the riparian habitat flanking the Santa Ana River for successful breeding. The current outflow also sustains federally protected critical habitat for flycatchers.
Monitoring of the Santa Ana sucker population in the river over the past 10 years already shows a steady downward decline. Diverting more water and drying up its last remaining habitat will be disastrous.
Speak up for suckers -- tell the San Bernardino Municipal Water Department to reject the proposal to divert water treatment plant outflows away from the Santa Ana River.
June 8, 2016 Action Alert ID# 384
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