BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service won't classify the mountain whitefish as an endangered species, ending an attempt by an environmental group to protect the fish.

The agency said Tuesday the mountain whitefish native to the Big Lost river doesn't deserve special protection because it isn't distinct from other whitefish across the West.

The Idaho State Journal reported Hailey-based Western Watersheds Project filed the petition to protect the fish in 2006, saying that ranching and farming are hurting the whitefish's natural habitat.

Executive Director Jon Marvel said Wednesday the group is disappointed and will review the federal agency's decision to determine how to contest it in court.

The nonprofit has succeeded in protecting Idaho species in the past, getting the slickspot peppergrass plant listed as an endangered species last year.

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Information from: Idaho State Journal, http://www.journalnet.com

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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