NANFA-- Fwd: Snail Darter, AL/GA rivers

Bruce Stallsmith (
Fri, 15 Dec 2000 14:50:23 -0500

By sheer coincidence, I just received this message from a friend in New
Mexico (who I've been pestering to join NANFA...). It includes a more exact
status of the snail darter, in particular.

--Bruce Stallsmith

>From: Gary Schiffmiller <>
>To: "Stallsmith, Bruce" <>
>Subject: FYI
>Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2000 10:58:10 -0700
>AND THE GOOD NEWS??? The snail darter is a small fish that "swam in the
>way of the Tennessee Valley Authority's Tellico Dam in the 1970s,
>and became the U.S. Supreme Court test case for affirming the Endangered
>Species Act." And now, in spite of the fact that the dam was built,
>the little perch has survived and even thrives in Tennessean rivers. Dr.
>Etnier of the University of Tennessee, who found the first darter in
>when only an estimated 5,000 existed, is now proposing that the fish be
>removed from the Interior Department's list of threatened animals. An
>estimated 100,000 darters are now found, and the population is so widely
>distributed that Etnier sees them as fully recovered. In 1978 the US
>Supreme Court said that the explicit provisions of the Endangered
>Species Act require construction on the Tellico dam be halted. However,
>Sen. Howard Baker and U.S. Rep. John Duncan Sr. of Tennessee persuaded
>Congress to exempt the Tellico and finish a dam they viewed as an
>economic necessity. When the dam was finally completed in 1979, cutting
>off 12 miles of the darter's only known spawning habitat, the TVA
>responded by spending $2 million to transplant several hundred snail
>darters from the Little Tennessee to nearby rivers, reports the
>(12/14). The transplants succeeded, and other small populations of the
>fish were also found, leading to the recovery of the fish. The TVA later
>made a commitment to water quality by ensuring that some water flows all
>the time from its dams. When that's not enough, it also trucks in
>liquid oxygen and pumps it into the tailwaters.
>SOUTHEAST WATERS: Nearly three years of "bickering and posturing" have
>finally resulted in an agreement between the states of Alabama
>and Georgia in the form of a water-sharing formula for the Alabama,
>Coosa and Tallapoosa (ACT) river basin. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
>(1214) reports that "the historic deal will mean higher wintertime water
>levels at Lake Allatoona, and could clear the way for the planned West
>Georgia Regional Reservoir near Bremen." The plan still must undergo public
>comment and federal review to become official, but Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes
>and Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman are expected to endorse it early next week.
>Also before the plan can be fully implemented, Florida needs to agree with
>Georgia and Alabama on an allocation formula for the other river basin in
>the water war --- the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, Flint basin, or ACF.
>Georgia and Florida still have significant issues over use of the ACF's
>The ACT agreement will be in effect for 30 years, with Georgia agreeing
>to deliver minimum flows under certain conditions in the Coosa River at
>the Alabama state line near Rome. Georgia is authorized under the plan
>to proceed with plans for the 3,500-acre West Georgia Regional
>Reservoir on the Tallapoosa River, with Alabama being guaranteed a flow
>of 25 percent of the average annual flow out of the reservoir,
>regardless of the flow into the lake. The plan also places a limit on
>the amount of water that could be taken out of the ACT basin and pumped
>the Atlanta area at 100 million gallons per day by 2030. Some groups
>oppose the plan, however, saying that it falls short of maintaining
>adequate flows in the ACT basin to protect fish and other aquatic life.
>Gary Schiffmiller
>Environmental Specialist/Fisheries Biologist
>Surveillance and Standards Section
>Surface Water Quality Bureau
>New Mexico Environment Department
>1190 St. Francis Drive
>PO Box 26110
>Santa Fe, NM 87502
>Phone: (505) 827-2470
>Fax: (505) 827-0160

Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at

/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,