Lake Mohave, a man-made reservoir in the lower Colorado River, USA, was once home to the largest wild population of the endemic and endangered razorback sucker Xyrauchen texanus, estimated at 60,000 individuals in the late 1980s. Individuals of this population were 25 years or older because recruitment was precluded by the removal of larval production by introduced centrarchid species. A repatriation program was initiated in the 1990s to replace the aging population with young fish by capturing larvae from the reservoir and raising them in hatcheries and protected lakeside backwaters until they were released back into the reservoir. Although more than 200,000 fish have been repatriated to Lake Mohave, the repatriate population has remained at a few thousand fish. The wild population is now functionally extinct. The program has adapted to new threats to the population, political realities, and technological advances. Management shifted in 2006 to the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program, which has politicized the process. The aim of this chapter is to describe the initial, informal adaptive management strategy for razorback sucker in Lake Mohave, the transition to a formal program, and the inherent pitfalls that formalization entails.
Part of the book: Lake Sciences and Climate Change