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Conservation Fisheries

Toyota and Mazda are spending $6 million on some fish in Alabama

Don't worry, that money isn't going toward a fish tank.

It's been little over a month since Mazda and Toyota broke ground on a new joint-venture plant in Alabama, but already, the two automakers have to shell out a couple million to one of its neighbors.

It's not your average neighbor, though. Mazda and Toyota announced Thursday that the two automakers will commit some $6 million to protecting the spring pygmy sunfish, which calls the water next to the automakers' future plant home.

Obviously, building a massive facility dedicated to churning out hunk of metal after hunk of metal isn't exactly the most environmentally friendly thing. $2 million of that pledge will go to restoring and maintaining the fish's habitat, in addition to monitoring projects. The remaining $4 million will go into an endowment that's meant to provide "permanent" funding for future conservation efforts.

"We're happy Toyota and Mazda have stepped up to do the right thing for this pretty little sunfish and the unique spring where it survives," said Elise Bennett, a staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a statement. "With this agreement, the sunfish has more than a fighting chance to make it."

The $1.6 billion facility in Huntsville, Alabama will be hugely important for both automakers. It's the future home of the 2020 Toyota Corolla, in addition to a still-unannounced Mazda crossover. It's expected to be up and running in full in 2021, at which point it should be capable of producing 300,000 vehicles per year, and it should bring some 4,000 jobs to the region.