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Habitat of endangered fish protected in W.Va., Ky.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More than 120 miles of river habitat for an endangered fish are now under federal protection in West Virginia and Kentucky.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the protection of the diamond darter's habitat Wednesday. The "critical habitat'' designation covers 28 miles of the lower Elk River in Kanawha and Clay counties in West Virginia and 95 miles of the Green River in Edmonson, Green and Hart counties in Kentucky. It requires federal agencies to ensure federally funded or permitted activities will not harm darters or their habitat.

The diamond darter was protected under the Endangered Species Act last month.

The tiny fish was considered extinct until scientists rediscovered it in West Virginia in 1980. Fewer than 125 have been seen during the past 30 years.


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