US Fish and Wildlife Service finds that 374 species may warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act

The US Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced that it will conduct a status review of 374 southeastern aquatic, riparian, and wetland plant and animal species to determine if any or all of them warrant listing as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Service made the announcement after reviewing a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity requesting that the Service add 404 species to the list of federally endangered and threatened species.

Logging is described in the petition as a threat that has “multiple direct and indirect negative effects on aquatic biota, across taxa,” and is alleged to affect 51% of the 404 species. The 90-day finding appeared in the September 27, 2011 issue of the Federal Register (Vol. 76, No. 187, pp. 59836-59862).

The 374 species to be reviewed by the Service include 13 amphibians, six amphipods, 17 beetles, three birds, four butterflies, six caddisflies, 81 crayfish, 14 dragonflies, 43 fish, one springfly, two isopods, four mammals, one moth, 35 mussels, six non-vascular plants, 12 reptiles, 43 snails, eight stoneflies, and 75 vascular plants. Of the 30 remaining species in the petition, 18 are already on the Service’s list of candidates for listing as threatened or endangered or are subjects of a proposed rule to list. The decision for one of the 30 species, the Alabama shad, was given to the National Marine Fisheries Service (because that species is under its jurisdiction) which recently determined that the petition did not present substantial scientific or commercial information to move forward with the 12-month finding. On October 6, 2011, the Service
issued a 90-day finding for the remaining 11 species (FR Vol. 76, No. 194, pp. 62260-62280), announcing that the petition did not present petition substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing may be warranted.

A press release issued by the Service indicates that status reviews for these 374 species (other than the 18 already on the candidate list), as well as any subsequent listing proposals that may follow, will likely follow completion of a multi-year listing work plan approved by the US District Court for the District of Columbia on September 9, 2011. Thus, the Service is not currently scheduled to produce 12-month findings for any of the 374 species within the next six years due to priorities detailed in this court-approved work plan, unless the Service is able to combine findings for these species with other actions already funded and/or scheduled.

To ensure that their status review is comprehensive, the Service is soliciting information on the status of the 374 species. Written comments must be received on or before November 28, 2011. 

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