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A light brown fish with bright orange markings on the tops of its fins.
Information icon Yellowcheek darter. Photo by J.R. Shute, Conservation Fisheries, Inc.

Recovery plan available for endangered yellowcheek darter

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the availability of the final recovery plan for the yellowcheek darter, a fish listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The yellowcheek darter is a small fish native to the Little Red River basin in Arkansas. It is found in headwater streams with clear water, permanent flow, moderate to strong riffles, and gravel, rubble, and boulder substrates. Historically, the yellowcheek darter has been found in the Little Red River and its four major forks (Devils, Middle, South, and Archey) in Cleburne, Searcy, Stone, and Van Buren counties.

Some recovery efforts have already contributed to the conservation of the darter and its habitat. The Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and numerous private landowners have entered into the Upper Little Red River Safe Harbor Agreement, a voluntary agreement involving private or non-federal landowners whose actions will help contribute to the darter’s recovery. In addition, the Service, working closely with the city of Clinton, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Southwestern Energy, and several other private landowners, businesses, and non-governmental organizations, restored three river miles of the Archey and South Forks of the Little Red River that was channelized for flood control in the mid 1980s. Yellowcheek darters quickly recolonized this reach of river following restoration efforts.

Threats to the yellowcheek darter include seasonal stream drying and drought-related conditions, shorter and more intense storm events causing flood conditions in lower elevation streams, land use activities that affect silt and nutrient levels, gravel mining, and channel instability.

The final recovery plan for this darter describes actions necessary for its recovery, establishes criteria for delisting it, and estimates the time and cost for implementing necessary recovery actions. To view the recovery plan on the web, please visit either the Service’s recovery plan web site or the Arkansas Field Office web site.


Chris Davidson, Deputy field supervisor, (501) 513-4481

Phil Kloer, Public affairs specialist, (404) 679-7299

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 Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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