Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 16, 2014

Duskytail darters to get new home

Burnside —

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell’s promised field trip with Lee’s Ford Resort Marina owner J.D. Hamilton to Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery to view the infamous duskytail darters may be delayed until Momma and Papa Darter have some more little darters.
Duskytail darters, the endangered minnows that threatened to keep Lake Cumberland low for another year, will be taken out of the Big South Fork River later this summer and initially be taken to a Knoxville conservation facility to be taught complexities of parenthood.
When, as the old woman who lived in a shoe, the darters have so many children, they don’t know what to do, the minnows’ progenies will be taken to Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery for long-term maintenance.
A promised field trip to see duskytail darters was the end result last Friday when McConnell’s commercial flight to Lexington was grounded by mechanical problems at a Washington, D.C. airport and he didn’t make it to a celebration of Lake Cumberland returning to normal levels. The senator was supposed to cut a ribbon symbolizing “Cumberland’s Back” on Harbor Deck overlooking Lake Cumberland at Lee’s Ford Resort Marina.
Instead, McConnell promised Hamilton, owner of the marina and host of the lake celebration, that he would go with him on a field trip to the national fish hatchery to see the federally endangered minnows.
McConnell is no fan of duskytail darters. In February, following an announcement early this year that the lake would be kept at a lower level this coming summer to protect the duskytail darters, McConnell, blaming the Environmental Protection Agency, called the decision “absurd.” Borrowing an assessment by Carolyn Mounce, executive director, Somerset-Pulaski Convention and Visitors Bureau, McConnell said on the Senate floor that letting a 2 1/2 inch minnow hurt businesses in the Lake Cumberland is “Bureaucracy run amok.”

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