SILVER CITY, N.M. (AP) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has protected nearly 35 miles of critical habitat for an endangered 8-inch fish with a torpedo-shaped body in the headwaters of the Zuni River in northwestern New Mexico.
The Center for Biological Diversity says the designation for the Zuni bluehead sucker ensures that federally permitted actions such as logging, mining and livestock-grazing don’t degrade streams where the fish lives.
The protected habitat is in McKinley and Cibola counties. One-third of the designation is on the Cibola National Forest and two-thirds are on state and private lands.
The Zuni bluehead sucker was protected under the Endangered Species Act in 2014, a decade after the Center filed a scientific petition to protect the species.
The fish was first identified as needing protection in 1985.