Lawsuit Launched to Force Feds to Update Recovery Plan for Endangered California Fish

Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice today of its intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force it to update an inadequate, 35-year-old recovery plan for a tiny, scaleless fish called the unarmored threespine stickleback. These critically endangered fish are only found in a few Southern California streams in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties.

Even though the species was protected under the Endangered Species Act more than 50 years ago, stickleback populations are increasingly threatened by habitat destruction, water pollution, groundwater withdrawals, wildfire and non-native predators. Among these sticklebacks, males are the nest-builders and egg guardians, ejecting females from their nests after they’ve laid the eggs and fiercely defending their young (see below).

“Sticklebacks are one of California’s most endangered fish, and they desperately need federal help to avoid extinction,” said Ileene Anderson, a senior scientist at the Center. “These little fish are found no place else on Earth, and they deserve an updated plan to guide their recovery and prevent them from vanishing forever.”

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