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Small fish with black stripe on side laying in an open hand
Information icon A blackside dace caught at Hatfield Creek. Credit: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Building a bridge for endangered species and Tennessee neighbors

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program helps landowners conserve habitat for threatened and endangered species. But what if it could also help frustrated neighbors and resource-strapped counties?

Last year the Tennessee Partners’ program joined with a bevy of county, state and federal agencies to remove a particularly troublesome fish barrier on a Campbell County stream. Hatfield Creek is home to the federally endangered Cumberland darter, federally threatened blackside dace, and the at-risk Cumberland arrow darter. It also floods several times a year, washing away the old road crossing and leaving nearby residents stranded.

three people in hip waders stretch a net across a small stream
Capturing blackside dace at Hatfield Creek. Credit: Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

Starting in January 2020, and armed with $50,000 in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish passage money, the crew got busy. (The Partners program chipped in $3,000). Campbell County and the Tennessee Department of Transportation also contributed cash, materials and manpower for the project. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provided in-kind assistance.

Seven undersized culverts were removed and a spanning arch bridge was installed. The project was completed in June 2020. Flood waters now readily pass through the culverts. Fish and other aquatic organisms move more freely on the all-natural stream bottom.

Success breeds success, or at least another chance to conserve species while helping folks. The Partners, along with Campbell County and Tennessee wildlife officials, have identified two other troubled fish barriers threatening blackside dace in need of replacement.

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. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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