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Learning about the endangered spring pygmy sunfish

LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - An environmental group that has worked to protect a threatened Limestone County fish from a massive auto manufacturing plant says it now intends to sue.

The Center for Biological Diversity sent a 60-day notice to Huntsville and Mazda Toyota officials Wednesday stating they would sue them for violating Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act if a plan wasn’t put in place to protect the spring pygmy sunfish.

The whole lower bend of the Tennessee River is a unique area for biodiversity Biologist Evan Collins said.

"The stable temperatures and good water quality in these spring environments promote a lot of insects and aquatic life. These are really what these things are eating there," Collins said.

It's home to the spring pygmy sunfish. "They were discovered in the late 30's in that was in a Lauderdale County site. That site was lost pretty quickly after being discovered when a reservoir was being constructed," Collins explained.

A few decades later the fish was found in the Limestone County area. "The threats to its existence was poor water quality, water withdrawals, pollutants in agricultural fertilizer, or pesticides entering the system. That was pretty detrimental to the species," Collins said.

The tiny fish tops out at an inch long and they can only be found near the Tennessee River at Beaver Dam Spring, which is why it`s on the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants.

"This is a fish that requires pristine water quality. So you know if it's living the spring where you are pulling your drinking water from, things are going pretty good," Collins explained.

Collins said you never know what future benefit the spring pygmy sunfish it could have so it's best to preserve what's left.