Lois Grunwald, 805/644-1766, extension 332
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it has designated approximately 10,003 acres of critical habitat for the federally endangered tidewater goby, a small fish that inhabits brackish waters along the west coast of California.
The critical habitat includes land in portions of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties.
Approximately 72 percent of the critical habitat is on state lands. Of the remaining designated lands, 15 percent are privately held, 11 percent are federally-managed, and 2 percent are administered by local agencies. The Service is excluding the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego County and Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County from the designation because these bases have completed Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans that provide conservation benefits to the tidewater goby.
Critical habitat is a term defined in the Endangered Species Act. It identifies geographic areas containing features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and may require special management considerations or protections.
The tidewater goby is a small, grey-brown fish rarely exceeding two inches in length. Male tidewater gobies are nearly transparent with a mottled brownish upper surface. Female tidewater gobies develop darker colors, often black, on the body and dorsal and anal fins. The fish lives approximately one year and occurs in lagoons, estuaries, marshes, and coastal streams. They are occasionally found in freshwater streams that are up-gradient and tributary to brackish habitats.
The final rule was published in the January 31, 2008 Federal Register. Copies may also be obtained at the Ventura Fish and Wildlife web site at: http://www.fws.gov/ventura/ under ?News Room.? A link to the final rule is included with the news release at the web site.