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700 River Miles Protected for Endangered Southwest Fish

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700 River Miles Protected for Endangered Southwest Fish

From Center for Biological Diversity
February 2012

Two of the most endangered fish in the Southwest now have more than 700 miles of protected "critical habitat" to save them from habitat loss and invasive species. The designation announced Wednesday, to help the spikedace and loach minnow, follows a lawsuit and years of advocacy by the Center for Biological Diversity. Both fish have been eliminated from more than 80 percent of their historic ranges in Arizona and New Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also granted both fish Endangered Species Act upgrades -- from the designation of "threatened" to "endangered" -- acknowledging they need more federal help.

The Center has been advocating for loach minnows -- less than a quarter-inch long upon hatching -- as well as the short-snouted, wide-mouthed spikedace since 1993, when we sued the Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to designate critical habitat for both.

Besides working to make that lawsuit a success, we've gotten both fish reintroduced to Arizona's fragile Fossil Creek, one of the state's most treasured but formerly degraded watersheds (now restored due to work by the Center and allies).