New York Natural Heritage Program
Bluebreast Darter
Etheostoma camurum (Cope, 1870)
Ray-finned Fishes

Threats [-]
Siltation is a definite threat as this species does not tolerate even modest siltation. Pollution which leads to major fish kills is also a serious threat. Pollution could also impact their main food source: aquatic insect larvae. The construction of the Kinzua Dam in Pennsylvania prohibits upstream migration from the lower section of the Allegheny River (Carlson 1998). In addition, any alterations to the water flow and temperature could reduce suitable spawning habitat. Removal of large boulders, rocks, or gravel could impact non-breeding and spawning populations.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
Siltation is not tolerated by bluebreast darter. Measures are needed to reduce runoff into areas used by the fish. When construction is needed near water systems, measures should be taken to reduce siltation as much as possible. This could include disturbing only the work area to maintain as much vegetation as possible to reduce runoff, working in phases to allow for more centralized control of sedimentation, using sediment traps or ditches to direct runoff away from the river, stabilizing soil by seeding, mulching, use of blankets, or wool binders. Protect slopes by using silt fences or fiber rolls. Logging and farming practices near waters can increase siltation or pollution. Encourage practices that maintain a riparian buffer to control pollution.
Gravel and boulders should not be disturbed or removed from the river as they are necessary for spawning and provide refuge from predators.
Water temperature and flow are important for bluebreast darters. Any alteration to the flow of water may affect upstream movement to spawning areas. Consider removing any barriers to allow free movement from non-breeding areas (deeper pools) to spawning areas (swift riffles).

Research Needs [-]
Some research suggests that bluebreast darters are a host for several freshwater mussel species, including Villosa iris (rainbow mussel), a rare species in New York (Tiemann 2008). Additional research on the relationship between darters and freshwater mussels in the Allegheny River is suggested.