YREKA, Calif. -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week issued a final rule designating critical habitat for two endangered sucker fish species in the Klamath Basin.
About 282 miles of streams and 241,438 acres of lakes and reservoirs in Oregon's Klamath and Lake counties and California's Modoc County were named as prime habitat for Lost River and shortnose suckers.
Critical habitat designation does not impose restrictions on private lands unless they involve federal funds, permits or activities, the agency asserted in a news release. Critical habitat is a tool to identify areas for conservation activities for a listed species, the release explains.
The final critical habitat designation includes significantly less area than what was originally proposed in 1994, mostly because of modern mapping tools and methods, Fish and Wildlife notes.
Under the final rule, ditches or canal systems are not designated as critical habitat even though the fish may appear in those systems because they don't provide the physical and biological features essential to the species' survival, according to the agency.
The final rule and other materials, including maps, are available at www.fws.gov/klamathfallsfwo .
-- Tim Hearden