3:13pm

Thu July 25, 2013
Environmental Watchdog

Feds Move To Protect Central Appalachia's Diamond Darter

The Diamond Darter
The Diamond Darter
Credit US Fish and Wildlife Service

A rare fish in central Appalachia called the diamond darter will soon be under federal protection. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that the diamond darter's protected status under the Endangered Species Act will become effective in 30 days.

The agency also has proposed protecting more than 120 miles of the Elk River in Kentucky and West Virginia that's the tiny fish's critical habitat.

The diamond darter is a member of the perch family. It was considered extinct until scientists rediscovered it in West Virginia in 1980. Fewer that 125 of them have been collected over the past 30 years.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the decision stems from a legal settlement that would speed decisions on Endangered Species Act protections for more than 750 species.