Clinch dace Chrosomus sp. cf. saylori is an undescribed species that was identified in Virginia in 1999. Due to potential threats from habitat degradation, high population fragmentation, and unknown distribution, Clinch dace is currently listed as a Federal Species of Concern and on Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan as Tier II- Very High Conservation Need. Still, a detailed description of distribution and critical habitat requirements is necessary to develop a management plan for Clinch dace. We sampled 60 locations, mostly in the upper Clinch River watershed in Virginia, to determine Clinch dace occupancy. In addition we collected data on 18 habitat variables at each location and used multivariate methods to quantify Clinch dace habitat requirements. Clinch dace were distributed in 14 locations across eight drainages of the upper Clinch River. Abundance at each location ranged from 1 to 13. Streams occupied by Clinch dace had small substrate, narrow stream width, shallow depth, and undeveloped watershed landuse. Results of this study provide evidence that Clinch dace are patchily distributed at landscape and stream scales. Further, low abundance makes the potential for population collapse an immediate concern. Future conservation efforts should be of utmost priority and include conservation of critical habitat and long-term monitoring of known populations.
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