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Endangered Species Program
Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems
The Topeka shiner, an endangered species, is a small minnow that lives in small to mid-size prairie streams in the central United States where it is usually found in pool and run areas. Suitable streams tend to have good water quality and cool to moderate temperatures. In Iowa, Minnesota, and portions of South Dakota, Topeka shiners also live in oxbows and off-channel pools.
Recovery in Pictures
Bringing back Topeka shiners includes providing new habitat by restoring oxbow ponds in Iowa and Minnesta and reintroducing them back to good habitat in Missouri. Check out the links below for stories and slideshows aboutTopeka shiner recovery work.
Life History, Ecology and Regulatory Information
Prairie rivers and streams where Topeka shiners are found are generally slow-moving and naturally winding, with bottoms made of sand, gravel, or rubble often covered by a deep layer of silt. We have recently discovered that Topeka shiners prefer pool-like areas that are outside the main channel courses. These pools are in contact with groundwater and usually contain vegetation and areas of exposed gravel. Topeka shiners almost always are found with sand shiners, orange-spotted or green sunfish, fathead minnows, white suckers, and black bullheads.
Topeka shiners do not build their own nest, but share a nest with orange-spotted or green sunfish. Males establish small territories around the nest and aggressively defend it from all others of their kind. Females may enter a territory only to be chased out repeatedly. If she is persistent she will finally be accepted by the male.
Conservation and Recovery
Iowa Oxbow Restorations
Topeka Shiner 5-Year Review (44-page PDF ; 1.5MB)
Private Stewardship Grant (May 2007): Southern Iowa Oak Savanna and Grand River Grassland Cooperative Restoration Initiative – Clarke, Decatur and Lucas Counties, Iowa; Ringgold County, Missouri – ($193,625*)
Private Stewardship Grant (May 2007): Restore Native Prairie and Oak Savanna Communities In the Little Sioux Watershed in Northwest Iowa – Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, and O’Brien Counties, Iowa – ($81,000*)
Private Stewardship Grant (May 2007): Topeka Shiner Recovery and Habitat Restoration - Calhoun County, Iowa – ($18,040)
2006 S6 Grant Project: Recovery activities for selected federally listed species in Minnesota
The Service designated 836 miles of stream in Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska as critical habitat for the Topeka shiner. Critical habitat designates areas that contain habitat essential for the conservation of a listed species. A critical habitat designation does not set up a preserve or refuge and has no specific regulatory impact on landowners'actions on their land that do not involve federal agency funds, authorization or permits.
Topeka Shiner S7 Consultation
Last updated: March 12, 2018