Omaha, Neb. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing designating portions of 186 streams in five states as critical habitat for a once-common Midwestern minnow.
The Topeka shiner first described in 1884 from specimens caught in Shunganunga Creek in Shawnee County, Kan. was placed on the agency's endangered species list in 1998.
The service said streams listed in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota are only those currently occupied by the Topeka shiner. Those streams are considered to have the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the tiny species.
The agency said a critical habitat designation will help focus federal, state, tribal and private management efforts but does not create a preserve or refuge for the fish.
Public meetings on the designation will be scheduled throughout affected states.