The Blackside Dace, Chrosomus cumberlandensis, is a federally protected fish species in the minnow family restricted to small tributaries in the upper Cumberland River system in southeastern Kentucky and northeastern Tennessee. The species inhabits undisturbed, cool headwater streams with stable substrates, low in-stream conductivity, and sufficient in-stream cover. The area that the Blackside Dace inhabits is known to be disturbed by resource extraction activities such as forestry, coal mining, agriculture, gas/oil well exploration, human development, and inadequate sewage treatment. All of these activities have contributed to degradation of streams within the range of the species. However, coal mining activities may represent the most imminent and substantial source of threats to the species because these activities have the potential to permanently alter in-stream water quality and cause physical habitat disturbance. The blackside dace was listed in 1987 as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
During the springs of 2011-2012, a total of 80 adult Blackside Dace were collected from robust field populations in Big Lick Branch, KY and used for brood stock at CFI in Knoxville. Spawning activity began in early April when water temperature warmed to ~15°C and continued through mid-May when water temperatures reached 20°C and above. During the spawning period water temperature ranged from 15-19°C. When hatchlings became large enough the young blackside dace were transported to CERC for toxicity testing. A total of 71 blackside dace were provided in 2011 and 1,685 in 2012 to support the study effort. Most fry were provided to USGS CERC for the toxicology testing, with the approximately 225 remaining juveniles transferred to the USFWS Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery for grow-out and educational display. All broodstock have been retained at CFI for 2013 production efforts.