CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A rare fish in West Virginia called the diamond darter will soon be under federal protection.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that the diamond darter’s protected status under the Endangered Species Act will become effective in 30 days.
The agency also has proposed protecting more than 120 river miles in West Virginia and Kentucky for the tiny fish’s conservation.
The diamond darter is a member of the perch family. It was considered extinct until scientists rediscovered it in West Virginia in 1980.
Fewer than 125 of them have been collected over the past 30 years in the Elk River.
The Center for Biological Diversity says the decision stems from a legal settlement that would speed decisions on Endangered Species Act protections for more than 750 species.