Aquatic biologists say populations of woundfin minnow and Virgin River chub fish have been drastically reduced in the wake of the New Year's Day failure of the Quail Creek Reservoir dike.
A three-day survey of the river last week has led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose listing the Virgin River chub as an endangered species, officials said.The earthen dike gave way Jan. 1.
In the survey, fish biologists found only seven living woundfin minnows in the 4.5 miles of the river's minnow and chub habitat.
Terry Hickman, Washington County Water Conservancy District consultant, said the area had previously represented the best habitat in the entire Virgin River system for woundfin minnow.
In the Virgin River Gorge, no fish were found and from the mouth of the gorge to Riverside, Nev., only two minnows and numerous red shiners were discovered.