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The Mountain-Prairie Region

 

NEWS RELEASE

Office of Public Affairs
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
202/208 5634 Fax: 202/219 2428

 
October 30, 2001

Chris Tollefson 202-208-5634
 Sharon Rose 303-236-7917,x415

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE PUBLISHES UPDATED LIST
OF CANDIDATES FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT LISTING 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today published a revised national Candidate Notice of Review naming 252 species of plants and animals that may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, including 26 new candidate species.

In addition, the Notice includes the 35 domestic animal and plant species that are currently proposed for addition to the list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants.

In the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which includes Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, North and South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska, the status of 18 candidate species was reviewed. Included in this year’s review were the black-tailed prairie dog, the southern Rocky Mountain population of the boreal toad, Salt Creek tiger beetle and a plant called the Sleeping Ute milk-vetch. (A complete list of the candidate species in the mountain-prairie region can be found at the website: mountain-prairie.fws.gov/endspp/candidates, which will be available soon.)

The Salt Creek tiger beetle, found only in one small, isolated wetland in Nebraska, received in this review a higher priority listing number of 3 instead of 6 in the previous year as a result of an immediate threat to its existence from anticipated development that will occur along a highway corridor, where the beetle resides. Evaluation of the threats will determine if listing of the beetle is needed in the near future.

An amphibian once common throughout much of the high elevations in Colorado and Wyoming with some in New Mexico, the boreal toad along with many other amphibians have experienced a decline in population rangewide. However, in 1999 the number of known breeding areas increased. This may be due to survey efforts rather than expansion of the population. With the information gained over the last year, the Service determined that the status of the toad has not changed and its priority on the candidate list remains a number 3, which indicates the species’ status should be monitored closely.

Better news for the plant, Sleeping Ute milk-vetch, that occurs in southwestern Colorado on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. Surveys in spring 2000 found an increase in the number of individual plants from the original estimate of 2,000-3,000 to 3,744 plants, and there has been an increase in its range. Also, the threats from oil and gas development in the area have been reduced, but not eliminated. It will remain on the candidate list, but its listing priority is reduced from a number 2 to 8.

The black-tailed prairie dog, which is believed to have been significant reduced over historical times mainly from plague and pest control efforts via chemical agents, remains on the candidate list with a priority number 8. The overall magnitude and immediacy of threats to this species is believed to remain unchanged since the 12-month finding. While positive first steps to conserve and manage black-tailed prairie dogs have been made by some States and Tribes, more conservation work will be needed by all States, Tribes and Federal agencies to sufficiently reduce threats to the species and to work toward recovery. The other candidate species from the mountain-prairie region remain unchanged in their status and need to be listed.

The Service periodically publishes an updated Candidate Notice of Review primarily to solicit new information on the status of candidate species and threats to their survival. Service biologists rely on a variety of sources to determine whether a species may require listing under the Act, including contributions from private, university and government scientists and other citizens, as well as local, state and federal land management and planning agencies.

"For our endangered species program to be effective, we need to communicate with the public," said Marshall Jones, the Service’s acting director. "The notice provides information about the threats our fish, wildlife and plants face. We hope it will focus more attention on imperiled species so we can work in partnership with the American people to conserve and recover them."

The Service places a species on the candidate list when it has sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to the species to warrant proposing to list it as endangered or threatened. It then uses a formal priority system to determine which species will be proposed for listing first, granting highest priority to species in greatest need of protection.

The Service has removed 75 species from the candidate list since it was last revised in 1999. Of the 62 species removed by this Notice, 54 were given protection under the Endangered Species Act as threatened or endangered species. Four species were removed from the candidate list because they were found to be extinct, two because of changes in their taxonomic classification, and two because conservation agreements reduced the threats to the species. An additional 13 species were removed from candidate status in the intervening two years.

Also in the Notice, the Service reassessed its "warranted but precluded" findings for 32 candidate species that citizens petitioned the Service to list, as provided for in the Endangered Species Act. In making a warranted but precluded finding, the Service determines there is enough biological information to indicate that a species may need listing, but that proposing to list the species is precluded by the need to list higher priority species first. A warranted but precluded finding is equivalent to a determination that a species is a candidate for listing. The Act requires the Service to conduct an annual review of all warranted but precluded findings. In its reassessment, the Service found that listing all of these species was still warranted but precluded.

The complete national Notice and list of candidates and proposed species appear in today's Federal Register. Species added to the candidate list can be found on mountain-prairie.fws.gov/endspp/candidates.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

 


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