Considered locally extinct, the Longhead Darter returns to Ohio

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The Ohio Wildlife Division recently announced the discovery of a rare fish in the Ohio River. The species, known as longhead darter (Percina macrocephala), was found during a routine electric fishing survey at the end of last year.

The longheaded darter was thought to be locally extinct in Ohio. The small, olive-colored fish thrived in the eastern part of the state, but river dams and water quality issues pushed the darter out of the state some time ago. Now it’s back.

John Navarro with the Ohio Division of Wildlife said the find is a good sign – the stinger is an indicator of high water quality.

“I prefer running around a stream that has darts in it because I know it’s clean and free of pollutants,” he said. “As opposed to one that only has a few species where you’re like ‘something’s wrong here or maybe I shouldn’t even be in this water’.”

The discovery of the fish comes on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Actwhich regulates the discharge of pollutants into waters in the United States.

“We think the Ohio River actually makes for much better water quality and I always like to proclaim the Clean Water Act,” Navarro said.

Since the longhead darter is no longer locally extinct, or extinct, in Ohio, the fish will be put on the state list. list of endangered species. Navarro said, in this case, the change from extinct to endangered is actually Well news.

He hopes there will soon be self-sustaining populations of Longhead Darter across the state.

To find the longheaded darter, Navarro said to look for areas of rivers and streams with shallow, fast-moving water, also known as ripples.

Chris Welter is a reporter and corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms.

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