U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish culturist Mike Gross discusses razorback sucker with Titus Cleveland

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX)–In discussions about Colorado natives, the Razorback suckers exemplify a unique level of native identity. Previously listed as endangered for 33 years, conservation initiatives are bolstering the resilience of this long-standing species. Razorback suckers have inhabited Palisades for over five million years, playing a crucial role in the Colorado River’s ecosystem. Acting as nature’s cleaners, they consume detritus like dead fish and slime, thereby maintaining river health. Their significance extends beyond ecological balance, as creatures such as bald eagles and bears rely on native fish populations for sustenance. Physically distinctive, razorback suckers are North America’s largest sucker fish, growing over three feet long and weighing up to forty pounds. Their nomadic nature sees them covering hundreds of miles annually. Notably, conservationists have tracked one ancient razorback sucker from Utah to Grand Junction along the Colorado River. Other ancient survivors include the humpback chub, pikeminnow, and bonytail chub, each with unique habitat preferences. While conservation efforts are a promising start, securing the future of these relics necessitates the commitment of future generations.

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