Yes, Alabama, the sturgeon does exist! (But for how much longer?…)
For a time, industry lawyers and lobbyists tried to deny the Alabama sturgeon’s place on the endangered species list by saying there was not a unique species of the sturgeon in Alabama.
However, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear industry’s appeal of a lower court decision, legally speaking the Alabama sturgeon does exist and is secure on the endangered species list.
But scientifically, it may be too late for the sturgeon. The sturgeon, a spiny fish that
historically has spawned in the Alabama and Cahaba rivers as well as
other coastal plain streams, has been blocked from spawning by dams and hurt by pollution. Reports in the Birmingham News in April and in the Press-Register in December show that scientists have only found one Alabama sturgeon in the Mobile Delta, and fear for the species’ fate.
Over the past 15 years, while industry has argued that the sturgeon would kill business, the economy in Alabama has flourished. Instead, it is the Alabama sturgeon that is on the brink of extinction, potentially adding to the record number of species native to Alabama that have gone extinct in the past century.
In the end, industry lawyers may get their wish – the Alabama sturgeon may no longer exist.