Critical habitat has been redesignated for two threatened fish species in Arizona and New Mexico, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday.
The spikedace and loach minnow, each less than 3 inches long, inhabit shallow perennial streams with swift to moderate currents. They have been protected since 1986 under the Endangered Species Act.
In December 2005, Fish and Wildlife proposed designating 633 miles of stream as critical habitat for the fish. But it withdrew 110 miles along the Verde River, tribal lands and holdings of the Phelps Dodge Corp. from the final designation. Phelps Dodge agreed to monitor and conserve habitat for the two fish.
The affected streams include portions of the Lower San Pedro, Blue, Verde, Black, Gila and San Francisco rivers.