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Southern California Fish Gets Protected Habitat

Judge Susan Illston has ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for the threatened Santa Ana sucker as the result of a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice on behalf of CalTrout, the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Fisheries Society, and American Rivers in 2000. The fish, once common throughout the Los Angeles basin, is now found only in short reaches of the Los Angeles, San Gabriel, and Santa Ana Rivers and Big Tujunga Creek.

Judge Illston ordered the agency to publish its designation by February 21, 2004 and told the agency not to enter into any biological opinion or written concurrence that "may affect" the species until such time as final critical habitat is in place.