Watercress darter

Watercress Darter

Watercress darter

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The watercress darter is a small colorful fish which lives in the Black Warrior River drainage basin near Birmingham, Alabama. The largest known female is 2.5 inches in length. It was declared an Endangered species by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in 1970, five years after its initial discovery in Glenn Spring.

The species can be found in the watercress zone of springs. They feed on snails, crustaceans and insect larvae in slow moving water. The species is endangered and is protected in areas such as the Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson County. The species is only known to exist in four specific bodies of water, two in the refuge and two at the Seven Springs in the Powderly neighborhood of Birmingham. The Seven Springs populations were only recently discovered in 2003.

On September 22, 2008, more than 12,000 watercress darters were killed when workers from the city of Birmingham removed a beaver dam at Roebuck Springs, emptying a pond that was the darter's habitat. An alternative solution would have been to install a flow device in the dam to regulate the pond height. The pond was emptied because it often flooded a nearby tennis court. The city emptied the beaver pond without the permission of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The FWS has ordered that the dam be restored and the pond refilled in an effort to...
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