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Cahaba River's Condition Improves

By Associated Press

Birmingham, AL – Scientists say they have found three of the state's most imperiled fish species near the mouth of Shades Creek. And that's a good sign of improving water conditions because these fish are the least resistant to pollution. At worst, the 56-mile Shades Creek in Birmingham is known as an urban stream with large sewage spills and one that fouls the Cahaba River when it enters. Scientists say they believe the appearance of tiny, imperiled Cahaba shiners, goldline darters and coal darters are an early sign of restoration along the Cahaba River, allowing sensitive creatures to repopulate abandoned spots. University of Alabama biology professor Bernie Kuhajda found the fish while working with two undergraduates. He says he's astounded to find the Cahaba shiners. The fish is federally listed as endangered, and it's not known to live off the main stem of the Cahaba River. He says the threatened goldline darter and the coal darter -- a fish of high concern to conservationists -- were a bonus.

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