Agency: Saving sucker fish to cost $135 million

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Federal biologists say it will take $135 million and 30 to 50 years to save two endangered species of sucker fish that figure in the water battles in the Klamath Basin.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final recovery plan Monday for the Lost River and shortnose sucker. One of the key places they live is Upper Klamath Lake, which is the main reservoir for a federal irrigation project.

Irrigation was cut off to most of the project during a drought in 2001 to maintain water for the suckers and threatened coho salmon in the Klamath River.

The plan says that despite a lot of progress on habitat restoration, the fish have not seen a substantial number of new adults join the population in 10 years.