Groups seek more protections for prehistoric-looking fish

Conservation and environmental groups are seeking more federal protections for a rare fish that’s known to exist in only one area of Indiana within the entire Ohio River basin.

The lake sturgeons found in Indiana’s East Fork of the White River are the species’ last known naturally reproducing population in the six-state Ohio River basin that spans Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The East Fork of the White River begins in Columbus, Indiana and meanders 200 miles before joining the West Fork of the White near Petersburg. 

The prehistoric-looking species is already state-endangered in Indiana. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to also list the species as threatened or endangered nationally.

The Indiana Wildlife Federation, the Hoosier Environmental Council and the Sierra Club’s Indiana chapter are backing the center’s request for protections for the fish, which can live a century and exceed 8 feet in length.