Iowa Topeka Shiner Recovery Partnership Recognized for Conservation Success

Scientists are sampling wildlife in a restored oxbow wetland with a sizeable sein net.

The Nature Conservancy and its partners in the Iowa Topeka Shiner Recovery Partnership are proud to announce remarkable progress in conserving the federally endangered Topeka shiner fish species through the successful implementation of oxbow habitat restoration projects.

Since 2019, the Iowa Topeka Shiner Recovery Partnership, in collaboration with various stakeholders, has completed over 70 targeted oxbow restoration projects across Iowa, with an additional 40 projects currently underway. The partnership has significantly enhanced the Topeka shiner population by working closely with farmers, landowners and government agencies.

Through various educational initiatives, including field days, virtual events, webinars and outreach materials, the partnership has engaged thousands of Iowans, raising awareness and garnering support for the recovery of the Topeka shiner species.

a calm river running through grassy fields.
a hand with two small silver fish in it.

Recognizing their outstanding efforts, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has named the Iowa Topeka Shiner Recovery Partnership the 2023 Recovery Champions for the USFWS Midwest Region. Furthermore, the Service has recommended the reclassification of the Topeka shiner from endangered to threatened status in the species' most recent 5-year status review.

"We are thrilled to see the impact of our efforts in the recovery of the Topeka shiner," says Karen Wilke, the associate director of freshwater at The Nature Conservancy. "This achievement would not have been possible without the commitment of our partners and supporters. Together, we are making a difference for the Topeka shiner and its habitat."

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.