Endangered Crustacean Could Delay Metro Plans in Maryland

December 3, 2013 - 1:51 PM
Hay's Spring amphipod

Hay's Spring amphipod (CNSNews.com)

(CNSNews.com) - The discovery of the tiny Hay's Spring amphipod, a federally protected endangered species, in the waters of Rock Creek Park could delay plans for the Purple Line train to be added to the D.C. Metro rail system.

According to the Rock Creek Conservancy, the amphipod is a ½-to1-inch colorless, eyeless crustacean that uses hairs to move about and find food. The Conservancy’s website also states that Rock Creek is the only place in the world that the amphipod is found.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that environmentalists claim the findings of the crustacean were omitted from the final environmental impact report on the proposed Purple Line.

Attorney John M. Fitzgerald said he and other environmentalists may file a lawsuit that would require the Maryland Transit Administration to consider a light-rail line’s impact on the crustacean, which he said is a sign of good water quality, according to the Post.

In a 2007 report found online by CNSNews.com, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chesapeake Bay Field Office in Annapolis, states that the species was not part of the agency’s “recovery planning.”

“The Hay’s Spring amphipod has been exempted from recovery planning because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that management options were so limited that no conservation benefits would ensue from a recovery plan,” the survey stated. “This exemption is subject to being withdrawn if new information or analysis indicates that the species would benefit from recovery planning.”

The report also noted that while the agency has authority to protect the species within the boundaries of the park, “non-point source pollution and changes in hydrology originating outside the boundaries are likely to adversely affect this species and are extremely difficult to regulate in the urban landscape surrounding these parks.”