NANFA Letter To USFWS About Spring Pygmy Sunfish
Posted 30 June 2010 - 01:52 PM
Ms. Janet Mizzi
USFWS Southeast Regional Headquarters
1875 Century Blvd., Suite 400
Atlanta, GA 30345
Dear Ms. Mizzi,
The North American Native Fishes Association (NANFA) urges you to initiate an emergency listing process under the Endangered Species Act to protect the Spring Pygmy Sunfish, Elassoma alabamae. We understand that personnel in your office are preparing to consider a petition to list this species within the normal process. The normal process is too slow to save this species from certain near-term extinction.
This species is now found only in and around Beaverdam Creek, a unique limestone karst spring system on the outskirts of Huntsville, Alabama. The habitat of this species suffers from an increasing rate of degradation as this area is now bisected with a new sewer line in preparation for an expansion of both residential and industrial uses. The construction of this sewer line destroyed large areas of riparian vegetation and caused widespread siltation in springs that typically run clear. Field work by Michael Sandel, as a doctoral candidate at the University of Alabama, strongly suggests that the entire species has been reduced to two or three subpopulations as individual springs in the system are destroyed by rapid land use change. These remaining spring systems themselves are sensitive to groundwater withdrawal as unchecked development continues.
The Spring Pygmy Sunfish should have had protection under the ESA 20 years ago. But now the species faces imminent extinction both from habitat destruction and the genetic losses that population fragmentation will certainly cause. We urge the USFWS to contact all landowners in the Beaverdam Creek area to negotiate agreements to protect this species’ habitat, and we especially urge the USFWS to track the listing petition as an emergency listing process. Time is of the essence.
The North American Native Fishes Association, Inc. (NANFA) is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt corporation dedicated to the appreciation and study of the continent's native fishes. NANFA works to promote the conservation of native fishes and the protection/ restoration of natural habitats.
Thank you for your consideration.
Board of Directors, North American Native Fishes Association
Posted 01 July 2010 - 02:33 PM
That was well worded.
This is the kind of action that i think NANFA should be at the forefront of.
It does not take long for an individual who is out in streams to see the severe detriment that disturbed ground has upon the fish we admire.
Alabama has already lost the Whiteline Topminnow, hopefully the Spring Pygmy is not next.
Posted 04 July 2010 - 04:04 PM
Posted 26 July 2010 - 03:56 PM
Wow, you can believe what you must believe, I guess. The last sentence is odd; has the act of sampling Moss and Horton Springs been historically sporadic, or has the finding of sunfish in these springs been sporadic? Either way it begs the question of protecting the small areas left of necessary habitat. I'd feel better if they just said they really don't want to be bothered with this because they'd get their Guccis muddy, or whatever. I'll openly laugh at the next clown who mewls about the ESA being overused by an authoritarian government....
Posted 26 July 2010 - 05:02 PM
"... the City of Huntsville, following the guidance of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, has actively corrected any perceived threats to the spring pygmy sunfish that may have occurred due to the expansion of a sewer line project in the area. "
Is the City shifting the sewerline corridor farther from the creek? Are they requiring 100+ ft forested riparian buffers on ALL streams and post-construction stormwater controls (to mimic pre-development runoff) on ALL new development in the watershed? What exactly is Huntsville doing to "correct the perceived threat" and under what conditions do these "corrections" apply or NOT apply? If the protective mechanisms only apply to "major projects" e.g. subdivisions > 50 units, or land clearing > 10 acres, then the bulk of development (smaller projects) may not require adequate protection mechanisms.
(If it were up to me, I'd BAN riding lawnmowers in all E.alabamae watersheds. Just imagine how much more forest we'd preserve without riding mowers!)
Posted 26 July 2010 - 05:10 PM
Posted 30 July 2010 - 09:16 AM
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