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June Sucker Maze
June Sucker Maze
The June Sucker is an endangered fish that is only found in Utah Lake, in north central Utah, and the lake’s tributaries. As recently as 1999 there were fewer than 1000 of these fish living in the wild – a steep decline from the millions present in the early 1800’s. Recent preservation efforts have increased the number of fish to about 250,000. These new fish are raised in a man-made hatchery near the lake. It will take time to see if they will find places to spawn in the wild, and then the sucker may be removed from the endangered species list.
One of the June Sucker’s immenent threats is non-native carp, first released in 1883, that now teem by the millions in Utah Lake. These carp are no threat to a adult sucker (which may be as big as 2 feet from mouth to tail fin); however, the carp feed on the younger suckers. Since a June Sucker takes many years to mature, they are susceptible to predation during that time.
In an effort to restore the overall well-being of the Utah Lake ecosystem about 2.5 million carp have been removed from 2011 – early 2014. Another 3.5 million need to go before there will be a chance of ecological balance in this part of the world. With proper funding this goal will be met by 2017. The June Sucker is an indicator species which means it represents the health of the ecosystem it lives in. Therefore the whole area that it lives in, the 150 square miles or so of Utah Lake, and the surrounding land mass, is in bad shape.
Original artwork is copyright 2014 by Rob Hughes. Drawn with india ink on 9″ x 12″ Bristol white vellum surface paper. Made in Michigan. Built to last.
Permanent link to this article: http://heretoamaze.com/2014/03/16/june-sucker-maze/