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U.S. Fish and Wildlife sued for not protecting habitat of rare WV crayfish

HD Media

The Herald-Dispatch

Though the Big Sandy crayfish species got its name in 1900, the name was recently applied to a newly identified crayfish species. The creature formerly known as the Big Sandy crayfish is now called the Guyandotte crayfish. This photo is of the “new” Big Sandy crayfish. Both species have received protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
(HD Media file photo0

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in U.S. District Court in Charleston on Wednesday for failing to protect the habitat for two species of rare West Virginia crayfish that had been awarded Endangered Species Act status in 2016.

Fish and Wildlife was required to designate critical habitat for the rare crayfish within one year of being listed for Endangered Species Act protection. But according to the suit, the federal agency has so far failed to identify habitat needed to be safeguarded to help prevent their extinction.

The endangered Guyandotte River crayfish has lost more than 90 percent of its range and is now found only in Wyoming County, according to the suit. The range of the threatened Big Sandy crayfish has shrunk by more than 60 percent and is now limited to populations scattered in the upper Big Sandy watershed in Southern West Virginia, southwest Virginia and eastern Kentucky.

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