Snail darter, focus of epic conservation fight, is recovered

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The snail darter, a tiny Southeastern fish at the center of an epic battle over Endangered Species Act protection in the 1970s, is no longer considered imperiled.

The snail darter held up construction of the Tellico Dam in Tennessee for more than two years as biologists and others fought to protect its only known habitat, the free-flowing Little Tennessee River.

The battle is still sometimes cited as an example of environmental excess, although the reality is much more complicated.

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced on Tuesday the snail darter’s official removal from the federal list of threatened and endangered wildlife.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland calls the fish’s recovery “a remarkable conservation milestone.”

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