LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — The Purple Line has met a lot of big obstacles since it was conceptualized, but the latest potential roadblock is the smallest, and strangest, yet.
A tiny crustacean, which is believed to only exist in Rock Creek Park, has been listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 1982.
It’s called the Hay’s Spring amphipod, and The Washington Post reports that some local environmentalists are considering filing a lawsuit to get the Maryland Transit Administration to consider the Purple Line’s impact on the aquatic creature.
The project’s recently released “Final Environment Impact Statement” fails to mention the animal’s existence.
The Rock Creek Conservancy describes the Hay’s Spring amphipod as a half-inch to one-inch-long “colorless and eyeless crustacean.”
It says the animal’s primary habitat is groundwater and that it has only ever been found at one spring near the south end of the National Zoo and at four other locations in Rock Creek Park.
Threats to its existence include natural predators, stonefly larvae and salamanders, and habitat destruction, which could be brought on by “reduced flow of spring water if development prevents rainwater from soaking into the ground.”
Maryland transit officials told The Post that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not mention that any endangered species were present along the Purple Line route, which stretches 16 miles from New Carrollton in Prince George’s County to Bethesda in Montgomery County.
The proposed route would pass through Rock Creek Park.