Quantcast

Small Colorful Fish Gets Endangered Species Protection

Animals
A trispot darter fish. USFWS

A small, bright fish found in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama will start the new year on the Endangered Species list, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) reported Thursday.

The trispot darter fish was thought to be entirely extinct in Alabama for more than 50 years until it was discovered in 2008 in Little Canoe Creek. Now, 10 years later, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has finalized protections for the 1.5 inch fish, earmarking more than 180 miles of river as "critical habitat."


"Protecting the trispot darter under the Endangered Species Act will safeguard this colorful little fish for future generations and help protect water quality for nearby communities," CBD senior scientist Tierra Curry said in the CBD press release.

The trispot darter has lost 80 percent of its historic range. It now lives in the Coosa River watershed in northern Alabama, northern Georgia and southeast Tennessee and the Conasauga River watershed in Georgia and Tennessee. Of the four individual rivers it calls home, only one, the Little Canoe Creek, is considered healthy.

The trispot darter's habitat is threatened by runoff from urban development, agriculture and logging. Because it lays eggs and seeks shelter between rocks, it cannot survive when those spaces fill up with sediment.

Unlike most darters, the trispot behaves like a salmon, spending most of its life in larger rivers and then swimming upstream to smaller tributaries to spawn once a year. Because of its migration pattern, it is also at risk from dams and any other constructions that block its way.

The fish is also threatened by climate change, which is projected to increase both hurricanes and drought in the Southeast. Hurricanes can wash out eggs and larvae and put stress on adult fish, while droughts lead to habitat loss and reduced water quality, according to the final FWS rule.

In 2010, CBD, the Alabama Rivers Alliance and other groups petitioned the government to grant the fish Endangered Species Act protections. CBD sued in 2015 to get a date for the FWS decision.

The FWS listed it as threatened, and its new status will go into effect Jan. 28, 30 days after its posting to the Federal Register. The designation of critical habitat for the fish will mean that any federal project along the rivers it calls home will have to consult with FWS to make sure it does not disturb the fish, CBD explained. Further, it will now be illegal to catch or sell the fish, the Associated Press reported.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Ketura Persellin

Global consumption of beef, lamb and goat is expected to rise by almost 90 percent between 2010 and 2050. But that doesn't mean you need to eat more meat. In fact, recent news from Washington gives you even less confidence in your meat: Pork inspections may be taken over by the industry itself, if a Trump administration proposal goes into effect, putting tests for deadly pathogens into the hands of line workers.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Kaitlyn Berkheiser

While enjoying an occasional alcoholic beverage is unlikely to harm your health, drinking in excess can have substantial negative effects on your body and well-being.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
MStudioImages / E+ / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Backpacking is an exciting way to explore the wilderness or travel to foreign countries on a budget.

Read More Show Less
Tim P. Whitby / 21st Century Fox / Getty Images

The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.

Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.

The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
A protest march against the Line 3 pipeline in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18, 2018. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Collin Rees

We know that people power can stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the proposed Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota, because we've proved it over and over again — and recently we've had two more big wins.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Scientists released a study showing that a million species are at risk for extinction, but it was largely ignored by the corporate news media. Danny Perez Photography / Flickr / CC

By Julia Conley

Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.

Read More Show Less
DoneGood

By Cullen Schwarz

Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

Summer is fast approaching, which means it's time to stock up on sunscreen to ward off the harmful effects of sun exposure. Not all sunscreens are created equally, however.

Read More Show Less