Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Fish and Wildlife Service Identifies Habitat for Endangered Riverside Fairy Shrimp

Dec 03, 2012

Contact: Jane Hendron, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office – 760/431-9440 ext. 205

Fish and Wildlife Service Identifies Habitat for Endangered Riverside Fairy Shrimp

CARLSBAD, CA -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today it has identified 1,724 acres of essential habitat for the federally endangered Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni) in portions of Ventura, Orange and San Diego counties, California.

The final rule identifying essential habitat is available today on the public inspection page of the Federal Register. The official rule will publish on Dec. 4 and will be available at

The Riverside fairy shrimp is a species of fresh water shrimp that measures less than an inch long and is found only in vernal pools, ponds, and other ephemeral pool-like bodies of water. During dry periods, cysts of the species lay dormant in the soil and hatch when adequate rainfall and water from the surrounding watersheds fill the ponds and pools. The Riverside fairy shrimp is one of many organisms that inhabit vernal pool ecosystems in southern California.

The Endangered Species Act defines areas identified as essential to conserving the Riverside fairy shrimp as critical habitat. These specific lands may be subject to a consultation with the Service if a proposed project carried out, permitted, or funded by a Federal agency may affect essential habitat for the Riverside fairy shrimp. The purpose of the consultation is to ensure such projects will not destroy of adversely modify the habitat such that it can no longer support the biological needs of the species.
Areas identified as critical habitat do not become refuges or preserves, nor does critical habitat impact private landowners taking actions on their land that do not require Federal funding or permits.

As part of identifying critical habitat, the Service takes into account potential economic, national security, or other relevant impacts.

The economic analysis estimated costs associated with conducting consultations with the Service in areas identified as essential could range from $166,000 to $273,000 annually over the next 24 years. However, this is likely an overestimate because the costs were based on the 2011 proposal which included about 2,984 acres.

The Service excluded 1,230 acres of proposed land from final designation because large-scale habitat conservation plans or other partnerships are addressing the conservation needs of the species. An additional 29 acres were excluded based on national security concerns along the U.S./Mexico border.

Approximately 1,988 acres of essential habitat were exempted from critical habitat because they are managed by the Department of Defense and covered by Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans that benefit the species.

The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the nation and promoted the recovery of many others.

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

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