Fish & Wildlife Service Seeking Approximately $3 Million for Unprecedented Kill of Endangered Species

On June 24, 2010, the Fish & Wildlife Service issued a Notice of Violation to the City of Birmingham, Alabama for allegedly killing an estimated 11,700 endangered watercress darters, and injuring approximately 8,900 others, in a single incident in 2008.  The Service is seeking $2,975,000 in civil penalties as a result of the incident.

The watercress darter is found in only five spring brooks and spring pools in Birmingham, Alabama.  In September 2008, a Birmingham maintenance crew allegedly breached an earthen dam and drained a spring pool, stranding and killing thousands of watercress darters.  The incident resulted in the loss of more than half of the largest known population of the species. 

The City of Birmingham has 45 days to either pay the proposed civil penalty, initiate informal negotiations with the Service, or file a Petition for Relief in accordance with the Service's regulations. 

  • Benjamin Z. Rubin

    Ben Rubin is chair of Nossaman’s Environment & Land Use Group. Ben assists developers, public agencies, landowners and corporate clients on a variety of complex land use and environmental matters. He counsels clients on matters ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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