Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you


Endangered Species Program

Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems


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Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka)


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.

Topeka shiner

Photo by Garold W. Sneegas


Status: Endangered, listed December 15, 1998


Habitat: Small prairie streams


Lead Region: 6


Region 3 Lead Office: Columbia Missouri Field Office


Range: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota


Critical Habitat: Designated July 27, 2004


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.


The Little Native Prairie Fish that Could: 2014 Post-winter Topeka Shiner Survey


Slideshow - Topeka Shiner Reintroduction in Missouri (Nov. 6, 2013)


Post -2012 Drought Recolonization Survey in Iowa

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.


Questions and Answers about the Topeka Shiner


Topeka Shiner in Minnesota


Species Profile (links to National U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service web pages)


Conservation and Recovery

Missouri Reintroduction

News Release (March 2, 2016): Shiner Stocking Both Historical and Successful

Because the small town of Neosho, Missouri, houses a national fish hatchery where imperiled fish are being raised, we get to be right on the forefront of the fight against extinction. This summer we were able to successfully spawn and raise the federally endangered Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka) in our spring-water raceways. And, in early December, we were able to put into the wild about 2,200 young fish that were reared for the first time in a federal fish hatchery! Read more ยป


News Release (July 17, 2013): Restoring Endangered Topeka Shiner in Missouri


Federal Register Final Rule (Jan. 17, 2013): Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population of Topeka Shiner in Northern Missouri 17-page PDF Adobe PDF Icon; 1.6MB


Questions and Answers : Topeka Shiner Reintroduction in Missouri and Designation of Non-essential Experimental Population (Jan. 17, 2013)


Iowa Oxbow Restorations

Post -2012 Drought Recolonization Survey in Iowa


Survey Proposal and Initial Results


The Topeka Shiner in Iowa: A True Example of Strategic Habitat Conservation (June 4, 2012)


Iowa State University to Study Topeka Shiner Habitat Restored by the Rock Island Field Office (July 18, 2011)


Topeka Shiner 5-Year Review (44-page PDF Adobe PDF Icon; 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


Critical Habitat

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 Range and Designated Critical Habitat in Iowa Adobe PDF Icon


Topeka Shiner Designated Critical Habitat in Minnesota


Correction - Final Designation of Critical Habitat Adobe PDF Icon; Federal Register Notice - March 25, 2005


Final Designation of Critical Habitat for the Topeka Shiner Adobe PDF Icon; Federal Register Notice - July 27, 2004


News Release: Critical Habitat for the Topeka Shiner Designated in Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska - July 27, 2004


Questions and Answers about the Topeka Shiner Critical Habitat Designation


Topeka Shiner S7 Consultation

Recommendations for Projects Affecting Waters Inhabited by Topeka Shiners (Notropis topeka) in Minnesota Adobe PDF Icon


Topeka Shiner Range and Designated Critical Habitat in Iowa Adobe PDF Icon



Listed Fish

USFWS Midwest Endangered Species Home


Last updated: March 12, 2018