The Clear Lake Hitch
According to Dr. Peter Moyle, at one time 10 native fish species were found in Clear Lake. Now, only 4 of these species remain. One of these, the Clear Lake Hitch (Lavinia exilicauda chi), was placed on the California Fish and Game Commission's threatened list in August 2014.
The hitch, which as recently as the 1970s numbered in the hundreds of thousands, is now struggling for survival, with current population estimates in the 5,000 to 10,000 range.
Unlike some of the other native fish species, the Clear Lake Hitch adapted to droughts. However, the loss of more than 90 percent of its spawning habitat, as well as water pollution and predation by nonnative fish species introduced to boost sport fishing, have taken their toll.
Can the hitch be saved from extinction? At this point, extinction is expected if measures are not taken to improve spawning and lake habitats. CLERC is collaborating with the Chi Council for the Clear Lake Hitch in its effort to identify and implement measures that will result in saving this unique lifeform, while at the same time not overly impacting other stakeholders involved in the issue.
To find out more about the Clear Lake Hitch, please visit the Chi Council website.