Smelts united!

The delta longfin smelt, a fish native to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, may join the endangered delta smelt, a neighboring species that is already federally protected.

To list the species as endangered, the Center for Biological Diversity and several other conservation organizations filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last summer. And last week, the agency announced it will consider the ailing species for protections under the Endangered Species Act, reported The Sacramento Bee.

The longfin’s population declined to its lowest levels in 40 years last year. Biologists are working to figure out the cause of the species’ plight, but think huge pumps, poor water quality and invasive species are largely responsible.