Faculty Book Documents Reintroduction of Gilt Darter

In Restoration of the Gilt Darter in the Lotic-Benthic Community of the Allegheny River, New York, SUNY Cobleskill Professor John R. Foster documents the ongoing effort to reintroduce the gilt darter to New York’s Allegheny watershed. The book was recently published in the SUNY Digital Repository, making it available to other scholars and researchers as well as the general public.

The gilt darter (Percina evides), has been classified as a New York State endangered species since 1937. Its demise in the state has been attributed to earlier water quality degradation in the Allegheny River from pollution and siltation, as well as the loss of habitat caused by the construction of the Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir, which prevent the gilt darter from migrating upstream from Pennsylvania to New York.

Since 2006, Foster has worked with Conservation Fisheries Incorporated, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Museum, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, and the Seneca Nation to restore the gilt darter to New York’s Allegheny watershed both by moving wild-caught darters from below the dam and by introducing hatchery-raised fish. The techniques and protocol developed could be applicable to other regions where the darter has become extirpated, like Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio, Foster writes.

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Sample pages from Restoration of the Gilt Darter in the Lotic-Benthic Community of the Allegheny River, New York