Cawaco RC&D is managing a grant from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation on behalf of the Alabama Rivers and Streams Network. The purpose of the grant is to enhance knowledge of the distribution and range of the Trispot Darter (Etheostoma trisella), a fish species endemic to the middle and upper Coosa River regions of Alabama and Georgia and proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for listing as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Geological Survey of Alabama (GSA) and Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) select promising trispot sites and obtain water samples. The University of West Alabama’s Biology Department processes the water samples for eDNA and fin clips for population genetic investigations, and analyze the results. The eDNA results inform GSA and GDNR if the site has eDNA from Trispot Darters with the potential to identify new populations.
In 2020, 250 water samples were processed and 22 potential new sites were identified.