New Light Rail Threatens Endangered Shrimp

Proposed route runs through the Hay's Spring amphipod's only home

(Wikimedia Commons)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Hay's Spring amphipod maryland purple line light rail shrimp rock creek

Construction of a new light rail track in Maryland might stall as a species of endangered shrimp takes a stand against humanity.

The Hay's Spring amphipod, listed as a federally endangered species, is endemic to Rock Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River, and is currently found directly in the path of the proposed purple line that will run between Chevy Chase and New Carrollton.

“The purple line will entail a fair amount of construction," says Chevy Chase attorney John Fitzgerald. "Digging up a line along 16 miles, including a hazardous waste site very near here.”

The tiny anthropods, which measure just 10 millimeters in length, have long been threatened by the presence of urban development, with heavy metals and other pollutants being detected in the area.

Fitzgerald believes that not enough study has been done on the impact of the light rail, and fears that the run-off from the construction process could spell doom for the shrimp. “If they can do this right, they can have the line and the species too. But they haven’t shown they can do it right yet,” he says.

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