August 3, 1994 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposed regulation to list the Arkansas River basin population of the Arkansas River shiner as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Critical habitat was found to be “not determinable.”
1997 – After the Service failed to publish a final rule regarding the listing of the shiner and its critical habitat designation, the Center submitted a notice of intent to sue over the issue.
March 17, 1998 – Having received no response form the Service, the Center filed suit to force final action on the proposed rule to list the shiner as endangered and to take final action regarding critical habitat.
November 23, 1998 – The Service issued a final rule listing the shiner as a threatened species, but determined that critical habitat designation was not prudent.
April 4, 2001 – In a legal settlement reached with the Center, the Service designated 1,148 miles of rivers as critical habitat for the Arkansas River shiner. The designation included portions of the Arkansas River in Kansas, the Cimarron River in Kansas and Oklahoma, the Beaver/North Canadian River in Oklahoma, and the Canadian/South Canadian River in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.
2003 – The New Mexico Cattle Growers Association and six other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Service over the 2001 critical habitat designation. The designation was vacated and remanded in order to allow for a new analysis of the economic and other effects of the designation.
October 6, 2004 – The Service issued a proposed rule to make a new critical habitat designation for the shiner of approximately 1,244 miles of rivers, including portions of the Canadian River in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, the Beaver/North Canadian River of Oklahoma, the Cimarron River in Kansas and Oklahoma, and the Arkansas River in Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
October 13, 2005 – The Service published a new final rule that designated just 85,120 acres on 532 river miles as critical habitat for the shiner, eliminating all proposed river segments in New Mexico and Texas and leaving out areas essential to the conservation of the species.
August 28, 2007 – The Center filed a notice of intent to sue the Department of the Interior for political interference with 55 imperiled species in 28 states, including the Arkansas River shiner. The notice initiates the largest substantive legal action in Endangered Species Act history and specifically advocates for more critical habitat for the shiner.
January 14, 2009 – The Center filed suit against the Bush administration over its inadequate 2005 critical habitat for the Arkansas River shiner.