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Water and sediment chemistry of selected existing and potential habitats of the Mohave tui chub, Mojave National Preserve, California, 2018

November 12, 2021

The Mohave tui chub (Siphateles bicolor mohavensis) was nearly extirpated from the Mojave River drainage in California by the mid-twentieth century and was listed as endangered in 1970. A source population of Mohave tui chub exists at MC Spring in Zzyzx, California, and has been used for several re-establishment efforts in previous decades. Two potential habitats in the Mojave National Preserve with perennial sources of water were identified by the National Park Service as candidates for additional Mohave tui chub re-establishment: West Pond and Rainbow Wells Pond. West Pond, an artificial pond at Zzyzx near MC Spring, contained a population of Mohave tui chub that died off in 1985 because of changes in water quality. The pond was rehabilitated in the past several years through re-excavation and by pumping fresh groundwater into the pond. Rainbow Wells Pond is an abandoned excavated mine site in the Cima Dome area. The bottom of the excavation intersects the water table, forming a pond. In cooperation with the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey monitored water-quality conditions at West Pond and Rainbow Wells Pond for 1 year to characterize the suitability of spring habitat for re-establishment of Mohave tui chub populations. Data were also collected at three existing Mohave tui chub habitats in Mojave National Preserve to provide further information on the range of acceptable physical and chemical conditions. Initial water-quality results at West Pond indicate the pond has similar water quality as existing Mohave tui chub habitats. Initial water-quality results at Rainbow Wells Pond indicate the dissolved oxygen concentrations and springtime water temperatures are less than the long-term tolerable ranges for Mohave tui chub.