June Sucker Listing: Why Save a June Sucker?

>   The June sucker can be considered an indicator species. Scientists observe indicator species to monitor how well an ecosystem is functioning. When these species are not doing well, the ecosystem is not functioning as it should. Such is the case with the ecosystem of Utah Lake and the June sucker. The decline in June sucker numbers is the measurable outcome of long-term human impacts to the ecosystem upon which the fish depends.

 

Some may claim taking action to save June sucker is a waste of funds and effort. These types of statements are often born of frustration, and a lack of awareness of a Recovery Program's potential to benefit much more than the endangered species.

An endangered species draws attention, support, and funding not only to the species itself, but to the ecosystem in which it lives. Historically, the June sucker played an important role in Utah Lake's ecosystem. They were an integral part of the food chain and ecosystem. June sucker provided a forage base for Bonneville cutthroat trout, fish-eating birds and other predators. Fishing for June sucker, Utah Lake sucker and Bonneville cutthroat trout was a way of life and means of survival for the Native American cultures and early pioneer settlers.

The June sucker can be considered an indicator species. Scientists observe indicator species to monitor how well an ecosystem is functioning. When these species are not doing well, the ecosystem is not functioning as it should.

Recovery Program participants believe that actions to recover the fish will improve the health of the lake and the species that depend on it. Recovering the June sucker will enhance stream flows, improve water quality, restore river and lake habitats, and reduce the impact of nonnative fish.

As members of the same ecosystem, plants, animals, and humans interact with each other and with the physical components of the ecosystem, and adapt as a result of these interactions. Changes in and around Utah Lake are bound to occur as nature dictates. Yet, the reality is that the most devastating changes endured by Utah Lake and the June sucker such as, urban growth, land use practices, the introduction of nonnative species, and municipal and industrial discharge were caused by human hands.