Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Annual List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act

Nov 10, 2010

 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Annual List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act

Contact: Erica Szlosek (916) 978-6159

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released its Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly appraisal of the status of plants and animals considered candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act.  The Pacific Southwest Region has added two species to list, the Vandenberg monkeyflower, and as announced in March, a distinct population segment (DPS) of Greater sage grouse along the California-Nevada border referred to as the Bi-State DPS.  One species, the Palm Springs round-tailed ground squirrel, was removed from the candidate list.  The Service removed this species after a review of the information found that its range is substantially larger than previously believed.

There are now 23 candidate species in California and Nevada. 

Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has enough information on their status and the threats they face to propose them as threatened or endangered, but developing a proposed listing rule is precluded by higher priority listing actions. The annual review and identification of candidate species provides landowners and resource managers notice of species in need of conservation, allowing them to address threats and work to avoid the need to list the species. Nationwide the Service is working with landowners and partners to implement voluntary conservation agreements covering 5 million acres of habitat for more than 130 candidate species. Although candidate species do not receive protection under the ESA, the Service works to conserve them.

All candidates are assigned a listing priority number based on the magnitude and imminence of the threats they face. When adding species to the list of threatened or endangered species, the Service addresses species with the highest listing priority first. The Service is seeking additional information on these candidate species, as well as information on other species that may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.  This information will be valuable in preparing listing documents and future revisions or supplements to the candidate notice of review.

The Service has numerous tools for protecting candidate species and their habitats, including a grants program that funds conservation projects by private landowners and states. In addition, the Service can enter into Candidate Conservation Agreements between the Service and others to address conservation needs. CCA participants voluntarily commit to implementing specific actions removing or reducing the threats to these species, thereby contributing to stabilizing or restoring the species. A similar tool is the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances.

More information about Pacific Southwest Species:

The Palm Springs round-tailed ground squirrel was added to the candidate list in 2004. Since then, studies indicate the squirrel’s range to be substantially larger than previously believed. The squirrel’s expanded range, together with conservation provided by the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan in the Coachella Valley have greatly reduced threats to the species and it no longer meets criteria for a candidate.

Vandenberg monkeyflower occurs only in western Santa Barbara County, California, at lower elevations and closer to the coast, in sandy openings of coastal scrub, chaparral, and woodlands on an old dune sheet known as Burton Mesa.  Seven populations occur across the mesa over a distance of approximately 6 miles. Two populations occur on Vandenberg Air Force Base, two occur on State Park lands at La Purisima State Historic Park, two occur primarily on California Department of Fish and Game lands on Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve, and one occurs primarily on private lands.   The largest and most immediate threat to the Vandenberg monkey flower is threats competition with nonnative plant species. The threats are ongoing and, therefore, imminent.  Consequently, we have assigned a LPN of 3 to this plant variety.

The Fish and Wildlife Service determined in March 2010, that the greater sage-grouse warranted protection under the Endangered Species Act but that listing at this time was precluded by higher priority actions. This decision placed the greater sage-grouse on the candidate list in 11 western states, including a bi-state population of greater sage-grouse in western Nevada and eastern California.  Since that determination, conservation efforts have expanded throughout Nevada with a focus on implementation of conservation measures for the bi-state population of the species. Because it faces more immediate and severe threats, the Bi-State DPS of the greater sage-grouse has been assigned a listing priority number higher (LPN 3) than that for the range-wide greater sage-grouse, which will also be added to the candidate list.

The complete notice and list of proposed and candidate species appears in the Federal Register and can be found online at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/cnor.html.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

-FWS-

Photos:

Vandenberg monkeyflower: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/5164327367/

Greater sage grouse: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/5162182815/