Timelines set for considering species protection in 9 states

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Officials have agreed on timelines for determining whether seven aquatic species from nine states will be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The animals include six fish and a freshwater mussel. One or more of the species are found in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the animals are at risk of extinction due primarily to water pollution and dams.

The center says it reached an agreement this month with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make determinations on three of the species in 2017, with the others to come between 2018 and 2020.

The species are the ashy darter, frecklebelly madtom, longhead darter, sickle darter, trispot darter, candy darter and yellow lance mussel.