Nevada’s rare fish moves toward endangered species protection

RENO, Nov.– In response to a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that the Fish Lake Valley tui chub may be eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. disappearance. The Service has one year to carry out a full review of the situation and decide whether or not to protect the fish.

The Fish Lake Valley tui chub is a very rare minnow whose current habitat is limited to a single source on a ranch in Fish Lake Valley, Nevada. These little fish have been found in several places in the valley before, but they have disappeared from all but one spring system. Much of the chub’s habitat has been lost due to weathering and overpumping of groundwater, putting the fish at risk of extinction.

“I’m thrilled that the Fish Lake Valley tui chub has the protection it needs to defeat extinction,” said Krista Kemppinen, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Center. “Overexploitation of groundwater is a huge threat to these fish and the source they inhabit.”

Groundwater pumping in the Fish Lake Valley is primarily done to grow alfalfa, a water-intensive crop that is frequently exported to Asia or the Middle East and used to support meat-intensive diets. in the USA. Other threats to the tui chub’s water supply include mining and proposed energy projects.

“This decision highlights how Nevada has failed to manage groundwater for irreplaceable species like the Fish Lake Valley tui chub,” said Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin Director at the Center. “Water levels are dropping throughout the Fish Lake Valley. I hope the protection of the Endangered Species Act will spur smarter groundwater management and save these fish and all other plants and animals that depend on scarce desert springs.

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