The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Small Colorful Fish Gets Endangered Species Protection
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.
- Revealed: US moves to keep endangered species discussions secret ›
- Species List | Endangered, Vulnerable, and Threatened Animals ... ›
- Finding on petition to list freshwater fish species the Holiday Darter ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
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.
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
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.
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.