U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists Two Texas Minnows, Acknowledges Impacts to Water Management Likely
On August 4, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its decision to list two small Texas minnows -- the sharpnose shiner (Notropis oxyrhynchus) and smalleye shiner (N. buccula) -- as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The two Texas minnows, which have been candidates species since 2002, measure less than 2 inches and have a life span of less than three years. According to the announcement issued by the Service, the "two primary factors affecting the status of the shiners are river fragmentation and alterations of the natural stream flow regime (caused by dams, groundwater withdrawal, saltcedar encroachment and drought)." In a FAQ issued with the announcement, the Service acknowledges that as a result of the listing there will likely be impacts to water management in the area.
In addition to listing the two minnows, the Service also announced the designation of approximately 623 miles of critical habitat in the Upper Brazos River Basin and the upland areas. The FAQ issued with the announcement also states that the Service expects that the impacts from the critical habitat designation will be less than $84,000 per year.
The final rule will become effective 30 days after publication.