April Wins for Aquatic Species
This month the Center is celebrating some long-awaited wins for three small species of the water.
First, following 10 years of Center work in and out of court, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service protected 319 river miles of critical habitat for yellow lance mussels. Threatened by pollution from agriculture, logging, urban development and climate change, these freshwater mussels are down to just seven populations in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.
Another southern stream-dweller, the colorful candy darter, won almost 370 river miles of critical habitat in Virginia and West Virginia thanks to a lawsuit by the Center and allies. We petitioned to protect this small, rainbow-colored fish in 2010, and the Service finally did (eight years later). The new habitat protections will help it survive.
And a Center lawsuit has just won a proposed critical habitat designation for Panama City crayfishes — 7,177 acres — plus a commitment from the Service to finalize the species' federal protection by December. We first petitioned for these fascinating Florida critters in 2010.