Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 29, 2017

Contact: Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121,

Trump Administration Denies Endangered Species Protection for Kenk's Amphipod

Tiny Washington, D.C. Crustacean Remains at Grave Risk From Pesticides, Pollution

WASHINGTON— The Trump administration denied endangered species protections to the Kenk’s amphipod yesterday, declining to protect the tiny crustacean despite it being found in only a handful of freshwater springs in Washington, D.C. and Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. 

In 2016 the Obama administration proposed listing the species under the Endangered Species Act. Every public comment received, including scientific peer review, supported granting protection to the species.

“Having lived next to Rock Creek Park for years, I’m sad these little animals won’t have the protections they so badly need,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center. “The springs in the park are in bad shape and generally neglected by the National Park Service. Protecting the amphipod would have been the wakeup call D.C. needed to clean up its springs, creeks and rivers.”

The decline of the Kenk’s amphipod and the Hay’s spring amphipod — a similar species in the area — has paralleled the decline of freshwater springs in the D.C. region. Historically, many residents of D.C. drew their water supplies directly from freshwater springs throughout the city. Unfortunately most springs were lost to development, and the few remaining springs are impaired by pollution. 

Today every creek and river in the larger D.C. metro area is classified as “impaired” by the Environmental Protection Agency. Century-old sewer systems continue to discharge raw sewage into Rock Creek just a half-mile upstream of the White House during large rainfall events. Pollution and pesticides, including from the nearby Rock Creek Park golf course, continue to degrade water quality in the springs where the Kenk’s amphipod lives.

“This decision smells fishy and seems like a warning sign that the Trump administration is going to use any excuse it can not to protect our imperiled wildlife,” said Hartl. “We’ll review this decision very carefully. If it looks like politics got in the way of protecting this sensitive amphipod, we’ll go to court to save this little creature from extinction.”

Kenk's amphipod

Kenk's amphipod photo by Irina Sereg, NPS. This image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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