Southeastern Fishes Council
Dedicated to the Conservation of Southeastern Fishes

Listing of the Diamond Darter
July 2, 2013
On July 26, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish a final rule in the Federal Register listing the diamond darter (Crystallaria cincotta) as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973.The diamond darter's protected status will take effect 30 days after the publication, on August 26, 2013. A copy of the final rule can be found the day before publication at the Federal Register's electronic reading room (direct link to the rule). On Friday, July 26, 2013, the rule will be available here.

The diamond darter is a freshwater fish currently restricted to a small reach of the Elk River in West Virginia. It historically occurred in several watersheds within the Ohio River Basin including the Muskingum River in Ohio; the Ohio River in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana; the Green River in Kentucky; and the Cumberland River Drainage in Kentucky and Tennessee. A fact sheet on the diamond darter can be found here.

In determining whether the diamond darter required ESA protection, we evaluated five factors, including effects to the species' habitat or range, overuse of the species, disease or predation, inadequate regulatory protection and other natural or man made factors. Out of all factors, the darter is most threatened by the destruction, change or limitation of its habitat.

We published a proposed rule to list the species on July 26, 2012, opening a public comment period and requesting peer review. We received and fully considered 24 letters from peer reviewers, state and federal agencies and the public. The subject of comments ranged from water quality degradation and coal mining activities to historical survey methods and macroinvertebrate studies. See the final rule for more information on comments andour responses.

We will also shortly be making a final determination on the proposed rule designating critical habitat in two units consisting of a total of 122.5 river miles in Kanawha and Clay Counties, West Virginia and Edmonson, Hart, and Green Counties, Kentucky. We will notify you when our final determination is complete.