High Plains Underground Water Conservation District officials are pleased with a U.S. District Court's decision that vacates the rule designating critical habitat for the Arkansas River shiner in Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas.

The Arkansas River shiner (Notropis girardi) is a small minnow once abundant in the main channels of wide, sandy-bottomed rivers and streams in the Arkansas River basin. The shiner has been the center of controversy since 1994.

“This is a big victory for landowners in these four states,” said Jim Conkwright, general manager of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 in Lubbock. The court's decision is in response to a July 2001 lawsuit filed by a coalition of 17 agricultural organizations, including the High Plains Water District.