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Hundreds of smalleye shiners and sharpnose shiners were collected from the Brazos River, about 175 miles northwest of Fort Worth. They will be taken to the state’s fish hatchery but returned to the river when the drought abates.

Scientists waded through the muddy river bed to reach the shallow pools of water, where they used a large net to scoop up the finger-size fish and put them in buckets.

With the water drying up in the drought, the fish don’t have the 100 miles of river they need to reproduce. And, their life span is just two years, so scientists are scrambling to save the two species.

Both are candidates to be listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. While they are the most abundant fish in the upper Brazos, they are found nowhere else in the world.

From wire dispatches and staff reports