Friday, September 26, 2008

Watercress Darter Debacle

Etheostoma nuchale, Watercress darter. Photo by Patrick O'Neill

The entire global distribution of the watercress darter consists of five limestone springs in Jefferson County, Alabama, making it one of the most critically imperiled fishes in North America. The species was listed as endangered by the Department of the Interior in 1970 partly due to the vulnerability of these sensitive springs to habitat alteration.

As Glynn Wilson reveals, the largest population was severely damaged last week by stunning incompetence on the part of one or more of the city of Birmingham's resource managers. This is simply indefensible.
Regina Nummy, the director of Roebuck-Hawkins Park, apparently took it upon herself to authorize a crane operator (not a backhoe as previously reported) to dig its way into a protected pond on Village Creek last Friday and destroy a dam, without contacting federal or state officials for a permit or permission of any kind. The incident appears to be a clear violation of the federal Endangered Species Act, resulting in the death of at least 1,000 endangered watercress darters.
More here and here. Those responsible should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

1 comment:

Anne-Marie said...

Wow, I can't believe that. I hope they are punished and made an example of...on a more positive night, I'm so glad you got to come to the meeting yesterday, feel free to sneak in anytime if you're in town when we're having an event!