Friday January 20, 2023

Lake County News

California hasn’t lost a species in 50 years, but that could soon change if efforts to save the Clear Lake hitch fail.

The population of the hitch, a large minnow native to Clear Lake and its tributaries, is crashing, local tribes are asking state and federal agencies for immediate intervention and on Thursday the state held a virtual meeting with Lake County residents and officials to discuss the emergency.

The hitch’s troubles began decades ago. Once reported to number in the millions, over the last decade, the hitch population has plummeted.

In 2014, as the situation was accelerating, the hitch was listed as a threatened species under the California Endangered Species Act. However, the federal government hasn’t followed suit so far.

The hitch has traditionally been a primary food source for Lake County’s Pomo tribes. In December, those tribes and the Center for Biological Diversity asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide emergency protections to the fish. They also held a summit with state and federal agencies to discuss immediate help for the hitch.

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