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Utility says saving fish may be pricey

  • Updated

COLUMBIA -- State- owned utility Santee Cooper said it could cost more than $100 million to make changes recommended by federal biologists to save a rare fish from extinction in South Carolina.

The State newspaper of Columbia reported Sunday that a federal report suggested Santee Cooper install ladders or other methods to help shortnose sturgeon pass through its dams on lakes Marion and Moultrie.

The utility is currently trying to renew its licenses for the dams. Fewer than 1,000 shortnose sturgeon are estimated to live in central South Carolina rivers.

Some biologists said their numbers have dwindled significantly because they can't migrate from the coast to freshwater inland.

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