Curtis Tate Published

Candy Darter Among Endangered Species To Receive Federal Funding

A colorful small fish with blue and orange stripes swims through a stream, where rival fish outcompete it for habitat, food and mates.
The candy darter is among 32 endangered species the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to protect.
Ryan Hagerty / USFWS

An endangered fish in West Virginia is among 32 species that will benefit from federal funding.

The candy darter is a small fish that lives in the upper Kanawha River Basin in West Virginia and also in Virginia. It’s been listed as an endangered species since 2018.

On Friday, the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced $62 million in funding to help the candy darter and other species recover nationwide.

Rival species are the biggest threat to the candy darter. Unused live bait, when dumped into the streams it inhabits, can breed and outcompete the candy darter for food, habitat and even mates. Pollution and habitat loss have also put pressure on the candy darter.

Last fall, the federal fish hatchery in White Sulphur Springs achieved a milestone when it released hatchery-raised candy darters into the wild, marking the first time that it was done successfully.