FISH EXPERTS DEVELOP STRATEGIES TO SLOW DECLINE OF SOUTHEASTERN IMPERILED
On October 26, 1999, an assembly of imperiled experts on southeastern
imperiled fishes convened a 3-day workshop to develop strategies for
addressing the continuing decline of southeastern fish populations.
Imperiled fishes are becoming all too common in the Southeast. Fish species
are not just declining in the Amazon rainforest, they are also disappearing
from the creeks and rivers we drive past everyday.
The imperiled fishes of the Southeast are symptomatic of problems faced by
the entire nation. These species are critical indicators of environmental
stresses, such as the loss of important natural habitat, and the degradation
of water quality.
Thirty percent of the North American species listed as threatened,
endangered, or of special concern are found in the Southeast, and 22 percent
of these (57) are found nowhere else on earth.
The participants in this workshop recognize that the current species decline
is a precursor for more obvious and long-term problems concerning
southeastern water quality and overall quality of life. The participants
came together to develop strategies to reverse the trends.
Conference participants agreed that the following actions are essential to
reverse the decline of southeastern fishes and their ecosystems, which are
fundamental to the quality of life and economic prosperity of the American
· Taking a proactive approach to conserving imperiled species to maximize
our effectiveness in reversing these trends.
· Cleaning up and restoring the natural state of small streams, creeks and
estuaries to recover southeastern rivers.
· Reducing the harmful impacts of debris and chemicals flowing into the
streams and surrounding wetlands to improve the quality of the water in our
region for people and fish.
· Controlling the impact of storm water carrying pollutants from urban
run-off, fertilizers, waste products, and erosion.
· Adapting and changing management strategies for restoring or conserving
imperiled fishes and their ecosystems as new information comes along.
· Creating collaborative partnerships and alliances because all conservation
· Providing sustained effort, focused attention, and ongoing research to
reverse declining population trends.
The organizations participating in the Southeastern Imperiled Fishes
Conservation Workshop included 16 state natural resource agencies, 10
federal resource and management agencies, 8 regional universities, and a
variety of private, corporate, and non-profit entities. The workshop led to
better understanding of organizational positions and philosophies.
Participants gained respect for opposing positions, while reaching common
ground around vision, strategies, and goals for restoring and protecting
imperiled fish and ensuring clean water.
For more information on endangered fish: http://endangered.fws.gov.
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