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Endangered Species Act (ESA) Milestones | 2010s
The beginning of the new decade has so far seen many successes in the face of ongoing conservation challenges. Our growth into a nation of more than 300 million people inevitably creates more threats to the health and well-being of our native fish, wildlife, and plant species. Much of the decade remains unwritten, but maintaining a strong, effective ESA – one that is responsive to both the needs of our imperiled resources and the concerns of our citizens – is high on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's agenda. All Americans can take pride in the fact that, under the ESA, the black-footed ferret, western snowy plover, and Oregon chub have rebounded from the brink of extinction. We can also celebrate the fact that many species no longer need the ESA's protection and have been removed from the list of threatened and endangered species, including the Maguire daisy, Tennessee purple coneflower, and Lake Erie water snake.
Biologists confirm that silvery minnows stocked in the Big Bend reach of the Rio Grande in Texas are successfully spawning—a major step in establishing the small, shiny fish outside the middle Rio Grande. Learn more.
A pair of short-tailed albatrosses incubating a single egg at Midway Island Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is a hopeful sign of the beginning of a new nesting site away from the threat of a volcano at the main site on Torishima Island. Read the news release.
The Black-footed Ferret Recovery Program is celebrates two major milestones: the 30th Anniversary of the species' rediscovery and the 20th Anniversary of their successful return to the wild. Learn more.
A survey finds the Atlantic Coast piping plover breeding population has more than doubled from 790 pairs when it was first listed as a threatened species under the ESA in 1986 to nearly 1,800 pairs in 2011—close to the range-wide recovery goal of 2,000 pairs. Learn more.
A survey of western snowy plovers in Oregon finds the population is nearing recovery goals, rebounding from just 35 adult plovers in 1992 to a record 214 adults and 168 fledglings in 2011. Learn more.
In an effort to improve ESA implementation, the Service submits a multi-year listing workplan that will enable the agency to systematically review and address the needs of over 250 species listed on the 2010 Candidate Notice of Review, to determine if they warrant ESA protection.
The Service reclassifies the tulotoma snail from endangered to threatened under the ESA, declaring the ornate river snail is making major strides on the road to recovery.
The Northern Rocky Mountains distinct population of the gray wolf is delisted following recovery, except in Wyoming.
Biologists relocate 24 Nihoa millerbirds from their last remaining holdout on remote Nihoa Island to Laysan Island. In a bold effort, the tiny songbirds were transported 650 miles northwest by sea to initiate a second population and minimize the risk of extinction. Read the news release.
A short-tailed albatross chick hatches on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge – about 1,200 miles northwest of Honolulu – marking the first confirmed hatching of a short-tailed albatross outside of the islands surrounding Japan in recorded history. Read the news release.
The Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issue a final rule revising the implementing regulations under the ESA that relate to publishing critical habitat textual descriptions for endangered and threatened species.
The Service and NMFS jointly propose a policy to improve and clarify implementation of the ESA by providing a formal interpretation of the phrase "significant portion of its range" that appears in the ESA definitions of "endangered species" and "threatened species."
Biologists discover that endangered Nihoa millerbirds reintroduced to Hawaii's Laysan Island in 2011, after a 100-year absence, are now breeding there—a major step forward in efforts to save the species from extinction. Learn more.
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