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The genus, Oregonichthys, is the only vertebrate genus endemic to Oregon. Work in the 1990’s with graduate students Todd Pearsons and Debra Bills led to the conclusion that the fish in the Umpqua River were a separate species. It is a state sensitive species and a working group has formed to monitor its progress. During the first status survey in 1987, the Umpqua Chub was broadly distributed between Elk Creek and the South Umpqua River near the Umpqua National Forest boundary (Markle et al. 1991). One downstream, isolated, population was discovered in the Smith River, separated by the Umpqua River estuary and 100 river kilometers (rkm) from the nearest population in Elk Creek. However, during a subsequent survey in 1998 (Simon and Markle 1999), distributions upstream of Elk Creek appeared to be fragmented into smaller populations, Umpqua Chub being restricted to lower-order stream sites while many main-stem sites were predominately inhabited by nonnative Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomeiu.
Did you know? The Umpqua chub is possibly the oldest native resident freshwater fish in the Umpqua River.
O’Malley, K. G., D. F. Markle, and W. R. Ardren. 2013. Timing of population fragmentation in a vulnerable minnow, the Umpqua Chub, and the role of nonnative predators. Transactions American Fisheries Society 142(2):447-457.
Simon, D.C. and D. F. Markle, 1999. Evidence of a relationship between smallmouth bass (Micopterus dolomeiu) and decline of Umpqua chub (Oregonichthys kalawatseti)in the Umpqua basin, Oregon. Northwestern Naturalist, 80:110-113.