Federally endangered Lost River sucker (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris) were once abundant throughout their range but populations have declined. They were extirpated from several lakes in the 1920s and may no longer reproduce in other lakes. Poor recruitment to the adult spawning populations is one of several reasons cited for the decline and lack of recovery of these species and may be the consequence of high mortality during juvenile life stages. High larval and juvenile sucker mortality may be exacerbated by an insufficient quantity of suitable or high-quality rearing habitat. In addition, larval suckers may be swept downstream from suitable rearing areas in Upper Klamath Lake into Keno Reservoir, where they are assumed lost to Upper Klamath Lake populations.
This report summarizes data collected in 2010 by the U.S. Geological Survey as a part of this monitoring effort and follows two annual reports on data collected in 2008 and 2009. Restoration modifications made to the Williamson River Delta appeared to provide additional suitable rearing habitat for endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers from 2008 to 2010 based on sucker catches. Mean larval sample density was greater for both species in the Williamson River Delta than adjacent lake habitats in all 3 years. In addition to larval suckers, at least three age classes of juvenile suckers were captured in the delta. The shallow Goose Bay Farms and Tulana Emergent were among the most used habitats by age-0 suckers in 2009. Both of these environments became inaccessible due to low water in 2010, however, and were not sampled after July 19, 2010. In contrast, age-1 sucker catches shifted from the shallow water (about 0.5–1.5 m deep) on the eastern side of the Williamson River Delta in May, to deeper water environments (greater than 2 m) by the end of June or early July in all 3 years.Keyword Tags: