|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
December 15, 2006
FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO
REVIEW STATUS OF TWO CACTI
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it will initiate status reviews of the Uinta Basin hookless cactus, found in Utah and Colorado, and the Pariette cactus, found in Utah, to determine the appropriate level of federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection for these plants.
The Service made this determination in response to two petitions, one to remove the Uinta Basin hookless cactus from the federal protection under the ESA, and one to provide federal protection for the Pariette cactus. Until recently, these species were considered one taxonomic entity, so the petitions were considered concurrently.
The Service found that a petition from the National Wilderness Institute seeking to remove the Uinta Basin hookless cactus (Sclerocactus glaucus) from federal protection does not provide substantial scientific information to warrant removal of the cactus from the list of threatened and endangered species. However, due to recent taxonomic revisions to species within the Sclerocactus genus, the Service is initiating a status review to determine the species appropriate listing status and to obtain new information concerning the species population status, distribution and threats.
The Service also concluded that a separate petition filed by the Center for Native Ecosystems and the Utah Native Plant Society to list the Pariette cactus (Sclerocactus brevispinus) as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA does present substantial information indicating listing may be warranted. Consequently, the Service is initiating a status review.
The Pariette cactus is restricted to one population with an estimated 4,000 individuals on the boundary of Duchesne and Uintah counties in northeastern Utah. The cactus occurs primarily on federal land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with small portions on state, Ute Indian Tribe and private lands.
The Uinta Basin hookless cactus occurs in Colorado on BLM and private lands and in Utah on BLM lands, the Ouray National Wildlife Refuge, the Uintah and Ouray Reservation of the Ute Indian Tribe, and on state and private lands. Habitat is generally classified as coarse rocky soils above the current flood plains of the Colorado, Gunnison, and Green River drainages in western Colorado and northeastern Utah. Impacts to both species include over-collection for horticultural purposes, energy development, grazing, off-road vehicle use and water development.
Cacti within the Sclerocactus genus are small ball or barrel shaped with straight (i.e. hookless) central spines, egg-shaped to nearly globular succulent stems approximately 1.5 to 7 inches tall, with generally pinkish flowers.
The public is invited to comment on the petition findings and to provide information regarding the status of and potential impacts to the two cacti. Comments and information may be sent to Field Supervisor, Utah Ecological Services Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, Utah 84119. Comments may also be sent by electronic mail to FW6 Sclerocactus @fws.gov “Attn: Uinta Basin Hookless Cactus” in the subject line. Electronic comments should be submitted in ASCII or Microsoft Word file formats and avoid use of any special characters or any form of encryption. Comments may also be faxed to (801) 975‑3331. All comments must be received by February 12, 2007.
Copies of these findings are available on the Service’s web site at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov.
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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 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 and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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