SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A tiny fish found only in remote waters in southern Oregon has been recommended to be removed from the federal endangered species list.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday proposed that the Foskett speckled dace to be delisted after more than a decade of work to restore the species' habitat, the Capital Press reported .
The rare fish is a member of the minnow family and grows to about 2-4 inches (5-10 centimeters) long. The fish spawn in the spring and only live a few years.
The fish are found in Foskett Spring on the west side of Coleman Lake, and another population was established at nearby Dace Spring, said Chris Allen, a biologist for the Fish and Wildlife Service.
The species was listed as threatened in 1985, and the Bureau of Land Management purchased the land surrounding the species' habitat a couple years later. The population has since reached more sustainable levels, Allen said.
"In this habitat at least, they thrive in open water," Allen said. "That's been one of the keys to recovery, is to create as much suitable habitat for this fish as possible."
The population of the fish tends to fluctuate from year to year, Allen said. Between 2011 and 2014, the population ranged from nearly 2,000 to nearly 25,000. At Foskett Spring last year, Allen said there were 4,279 Foskett speckled dace recorded.
The Foskett speckled dace would be the 37th species to be recovered under the Endangered Species Act, said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
"This is exactly how the Endangered Species Act is supposed to work," Greenwald said. "The fish's habitat was protected and threats removed, and now the dace has a future."
Information from: Capital Press, http://www.capitalpress.com/washington