WASHINGTON (CN) - A petition submitted by conservation groups to the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the Chinook salmon in the Upper Klamath and Trinity Rivers Basin as endangered under the Endangered Species Act contains sufficient information to warrant a full status review by the agency.
In a 1998 status review of the same salmon population, the NMFS found that the species was not at "significant risk of extinction" nor likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.
The petition presented new evidence that the spring run of salmon may be genetically separate from the fall run of salmon in the same rivers which would allow the NMFS to protect each run separately under the act.
In addition to information on species differentiation, the petition detailed declining numbers of returning salmon to the Klamath and Trinity rivers since the last review, as the result of dams, mining, water diversion, habitat degradation and overfishing.
The NMFS will now convene a biological review team to conduct a 12 month review of the species status.