FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2005
Contacts: Connie Light Dickard, (601) 321-1121
Tom MacKenzie, 404/679-7291
NOTE: Photograph available from the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Web site.
Draft recovery plan for vermilion darter in Alabama available for review
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comments on a technical agency draft recovery plan for the vermilion darter. The vermilion darter (Etheostoma chermocki), is federally listed as endangered.
The vermilion darter is found only in the Turkey Creek drainage, a tributary of the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River, Jefferson County, Alabama. The current range of the vermilion darter is about seven miles in the Turkey Creek system. Surveys conducted in 2003 indicated that the vermilion darter has declined substantially in this drainage. The greatest threat to the vermilion darter is water quality and substrate degradation caused by sedimentation and other pollutants.
The technical agency draft recovery plan includes specific recovery objectives and criteria to be met in order to eventually delist the vermilion darter under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The Service is soliciting review and comment on this technical agency draft recovery plan from local, state, and federal agencies, and the public beginning July 21, 2005.
Once completed, the plan will serve as a guide for federal and state agencies, industries, private groups, and individuals whose actions may affect the conservation of this fish. The draft recovery plan calls for protection of stream habitats and water quality, community-based watershed stewardship planning and action, concerted education efforts, and research on the vermilion darter.
Copies of the draft plan can be obtained by visiting our recovery plan website at http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=E098, or may be requested by contacting Connie Light Dickard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Suite A, Jackson, Mississippi 39213, phone 601-321-1121. The Service will collect written public comments on its draft recovery plan until September 19, 2005.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird p opulations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. Visit the Service's website at www.fws.gov.
Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division protects this the vermilion darter from capture or possession.