Elk River crayfish doesn’t make endangered species list

Barbara Baldocchi

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials have determined that a native West Virginia freshwater crustacean does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act.

The Elk River crayfish is not in danger of extinction or likely to be in the foreseeable future, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday.

The crayfish is found in all five watersheds where it was documented historically and in one additional watershed, the agency said in a news release. All drain into the Elk River.

Protected lands in Holly River State Park and Monongahela National Forest buffer some of the species’ habitat, the agency said.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned for federal protection of the Elk River crayfish in 2010. The Fish and Wildlife Service reviewed the crayfish, and scientists determined the species has maintained and is expected to continue to maintain resilient populations.