Endangered Species | Topeka Shiner
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Topeka Shiner


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  • Topeka shiner. Credit: © Garold W. Sneegas.

    Topeka shiner. Credit: © Garold W. Sneegas.

  • Topeka shiner. Credit: © Garold W. Sneegas.

    Topeka shiner. Credit: © Garold W. Sneegas.

Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka)

Species Description: The Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka) is a small minnow, less than three inches in total length. It is an overall silvery color, with a well defined dark stripe along its side, and a dark wedge-shaped spot at the base pf the tail fin. Males develop additional reddish coloration in all other fins during the breeding season.

Location and Habitat: The Topeka shiner is know to occur in portions of South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska. The Topeka shiners occurs primarily in small prairie (or former prairie) streams in pools containing clear, clean water. Most Topeka shiner streams are perennial (flow year-round), but some are small enough to stop flowing during dry summer months. In these circumstances, water levels must be maintained by groundwater seepage for the fish to survive. Topeka shiner streams generally have clean gravel, rock, or sand bottoms.

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Recent Actions: On January 16, 2020, the Service announced the completed draft recovery plan for the Topeka shiner which is now available for public review. A recovery plan is the guidebook towards a shared goal of ensuring the long-term survival of a species in the wild. It outlines site-specific management actions that contribute to the recovery of the species, describes the time and cost estimates for implementation of those actions, and outlines measurable criteria for delisting. Recovery plans support federal, state, tribal and private cooperators seeking to advance the recovery of listed species, but they are not regulatory documents. The Service will accept public comments on the draft plan for 60-days after publication. Interested parties can submit comments electronically to the following email address: kansases@fws.gov. The draft recovery plan will be available on https://ecos.fws.gov.

Recent Actions: In October 2017, the Service finalized a Recovery Outline for the Topeka shiner. In the interim between listing and recovery plan approval, a recovery outline provides preliminary strategies for conservation that conform to the mandates of the Endangered Species Act.  It organizes near-term recovery actions, provides a range-wide conservation context for Service decisions, and sets the stage for additional recovery planning and stakeholder involvement.  This document replaces the previous Recovery Outline for the Topeka Shiner dated January 27, 1999.

Recent Actions: On December 15, 1998, the Service listed the Topeka shiner as an endangered species und the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). (63 FR 69008). On July 27, 2004, the Service designated critical habitat for the Topeka shiner (69 FR 44736archived supporting information). This rule designated critical habitat in Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Habitat in Kansas, Missouri, and South Dakota was excluded for the designation.

In January 2010, the Service completed a 5-Year Review of the Topeka shiner. At the time of the species' original listing, we concluded that significant reductions in the species' range, within the context of continuing and expected impact, supported an endangered status. This conclusion was particularly accurate in southern portions of the range where historic changes in land-use, land-cover, and hydrology have largely reduced the species to small, isolated populations susceptible to ongoing and projected threats. Even with Federal protection, it is likely that additional sites in the portion of the range will be lost within the foreseeable future. However, some successful recovery efforts have been undertaken with demonstrated success. For example, in Iowa over 25 degraded oxbows were deepened and reconnected, yielding significant increases in Topeka shiner numbers.

Importantly, new distributional data and a better understanding of threats in the northern portion of the range have altered our perception of the species' overall status. Available information now suggests the species is distributed widely across its historic range in Minnesota and South Dakota. Populations in these two states represent about 70 percent of the species' current range. In short, the species appears to have been minimally impacted by historic and current threats in this portion of the range. Still, several potential future threats remain a long-tem concern.

Given the Topeka shiner's widespread distribution and apparent resilience to threats across northern portions of its range and recovery progress in portions of the remainder of the range, an endangered determination no longer seems appropriate. Thus, the review recommends downlisting to threatened. The review recommends downlisting instead of delisting because of the species' current vulnerability in southern portions of the range and potential long-term impacts to the hydrology in the northern portion of the range. Implementing this recommendation will require a rulemaking.

More information can be found on the Service's ECOS webpage.

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2004 and 2005 Documents

Economic Analysis and Environmental Assessment

2002 and 2004 Documents



The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
Last modified: January 16, 2020
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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