The U-S Fish and Wildlife service is proposing to designate miles of streams and rivers in Iowa and a handful of other states “critical habitat” for the Topeka shiner, a minnow that was once common in the midwest. The shiner lives only in very clean fresh water, which makes it an indicator of water quality to scientists. The agency didn’t come up with this idea on its own, according to Wally Jobman.He says the Biodiversity Legal Foundation brought a lawsuit against the Fish and Wildlife Service, and a court settlement is the reason the service is designating the habitat. Jobman works at one midwestern field office of the Fish and Wildlife Service, and says the designation is far less constricting than people might think. He says it has little impact on landowners. Jobman says only if an owner wants to do earth moving like re-routing a stream’s path stabilize banks, work that requires a federal permit already. The critical-habitat designation will affect parts of rivers and streams in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Kansas. There’ll be a hearing on the proposal September 9 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
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