During the early days of American exploration and expansion, settlers that would come to the Springfield Plateau region would often find cavefish in their water buckets when they would bring up water from the newly dug wells. In fact, the settlers even viewed the small fish as good luck charms, calling them “well keepers” or “spring keepers”. Settlers also used them as an indication that the water that they were bringing up was safe to drink (Graening et al., 2010).


Above: An image of a well that was created by early settlers to the Springfield Plateau region, this well connects directly to an aquifer where the cavefish can be found. Image courtesy of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.                

              As human activity continues to progress in the Springfield Plateau region, the Ozark cavefish populations have been threatened. Left susceptible to even the smallest changes in the environment, the Ozark cavefish populations have suffered in recent years due to amplified water toxicity levels, as well as aquifer drainage. Because of this, the Ozark cavefish was added to the list of threatened species in 1984 due to decreases in population size, as well as safe, stable habitats (Means & Johnson, 1995).


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