A biologist for a conservation group involved with the preservation of the Santa Ana sucker fish said Friday that a decision by a federal judge doubling the protected area of the Santa Ana sucker fish was "completely on target" and that the group will likely intervene in an appeal to ensure "that all sides are represented."

On Thursday, a group of Inland Empire water agencies notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that they will appeal the Oct. 23 decision by Judge James V. Seina, which they say will interfere with water allocation, water use and recharge efforts along the Santa Ana River.

An attorney for the group called Seina's decision "nearly all wrong."

Ileene Anderson, biologist with the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, said that survival of the small, algae-eating fish has been threatened by the Seven Oaks Dam and other developments along the Santa Ana River.

The expanded habitat is necessary to provide the gravel for the egg-hatching of the fish species, Anderson said Friday in a telephone interview from her Los Angeles office.

The fish species has evolved to survive very well "in boom and bust flood situations" but its survival is now in jeopardy through the interruption of the natural water flow in the Santa Ana River, she said.


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