Presence of the Duskytail Darter in the Big South Fork River near Blue Heron in McCreary County created a firestorm in late January when the Corps announced the lake would be held at 705 feet above sea level this summer because the endangered species of minnows had taken up residence in a five-mile stretch of the river while the lake was low.
Andrews said duskytail darters don’t live long. The minnows will be propagated at the fish hatchery while proper habitat is found, he indicated.
How many duskytail darters will be taken to the federal hatchery?
“I don’t know ... we don’t know exactly how many are out there (in the Big South Fork),” he said.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people, said the Corps’ news release.
Locals are ecstatic at the prospects of a full lake.
“That’s fantastic news, not only for Somerset but for anyone who vacations on the lake,” said Bobby Clue, executive director of Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce. He said it is an example of the Corps working proactively with legislators and local officials.
“That makes us very happy, as well as our visitors,” said Van Back, assistant at Somerset-Pulaski Convention & Visitors Bureau. Carolyn Mounce, the bureau’s executive director, is out of town and unavailable for comment.