Alabama Rivers Declared Off Limits for Sturgeon

     WASHINGTON (CN) – After a long series of court battles directed by former Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, and nine years after the fish was listed as endangered, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated 300 miles of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers in Alabama as critical habitat for the Alabama sturgeon.

     Only two of the fish have been captured since then, however, and opponents of listing critical habitat have argued that such a small population of fish is not viable and that altering water flows from U.S. Army Corp of Engineers’ hydroelectric dams on the Alabama River will not help the fish and will have negative economic consequences.
     To be included in a critical habitat designation under the Endangered Species Act, the area occupied by the species at the time it was listed must have the features essential to the conservation of the species and require special management consideration or protection.

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