Petition seeks federal protections for Rio Grande fish

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Environmentalists are asking federal wildlife managers to used the Endangered Species Act to protect a fish found only in the Rio Grande in Texas and the Pecos River in New Mexico.

WildEarth Guardians filed the petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday, saying it is part of a campaign focused on vulnerable species found in rivers and streams across the West.

The group contends the Rio Grande shiner is one of the aquatic and riparian species that will not survive into the next century without a significant change in the way rivers are managed.

A small freshwater fish, the shiner once inhabited the Rio Grande throughout New Mexico and Texas and the Pecos River as far north as Santa Rosa, New Mexico. The species has completely vanished from the Rio Grande in New Mexico and from large portions of the Rio Grande along the Texas-Mexico border.

Environmentalists say at least two similar species — the phantom shiner and the Rio Grande bluntnose shiner — have gone extinct in the past century.

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