FWS Announces ESA Delisting of the Snail Darter

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that it is removing the snail darter, a small freshwater fish native to the Tennessee River watershed, from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The de-listing is effective November 4, 2022. The snail darter was the subject of early high-profile Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) litigation and legislation, reaching the Supreme Court in Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153 (1978) which upheld its protection. In response, Congress passed legislation specifically exempting the Tellico Dam from the ESA allowing the project to be completed in 1979 despite its potential impact on the fish.