The Yellowcheek Darter (Etheostoma moorei) is a rare fish endemic to the Little Red River watershed in the Boston Mountains of northern Arkansas. Remaining populations of this species are geographically isolated and declining, and the species was listed in 2011 as federally endangered. Populations have declined, in part, due to intense seasonal stream drying and inundation of lower reaches by a reservoir. We used a kick seine sampling approach to examine distribution and abundance of Yellowcheek Darter populations in the Middle Fork and South Fork Little Red River. We used presence data to estimate occupancy rates and detection probability and examined relationships between Yellowcheek Darter density and environmental variables. The species was found at five Middle Fork and South Fork sites where it had previously been present in 2003–2004. Occupancy rates were >0.6 but with wide 95% CI, and where the darters occurred, densities were typical of other Ozark darters but highly variable. Detection probability and density were positively related to current velocity. Given that stream drying has become more extreme over the past 30 years and anthropogenic threats have increased, regular monitoring and active management may be required to reduce extinction risk of Yellowcheek Darter populations.

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