Lawsuit Launched to Protect Imperiled California Fish

Center for Biological Diversity —

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent today to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for the Clear Lake hitch, a large minnow found only in Northern California’s Clear Lake and its tributaries. The Trump administration denied the fish protection in a December 2020 determination.

Under Trump appointee leadership, the Service asserted that major threats such as the loss of spawning habitat, climate change, drought, and predation and competition from introduced fish are “not likely to adversely affect the overall viability of the Clear Lake hitch in a biologically meaningful way.” This contradicts the conclusions of native fish experts, as well as findings by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Fish and Game Commission.

“Relying on misinformation and climate change denial, Trump’s Interior Department denied protection to one of California’s most threatened native fish,” said Jeff Miller, a senior conservation advocate at the Center. “In contrast, the state of California protected the hitch as a threatened species based on sound science. The feds need to follow suit.”

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