|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
Office of Public Affairs
September 13, 2006
Contact: Valerie Fellows 202/208 3008
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE UPDATES LIST OF CANDIDATES FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT LISTING
Three plant species found in Utah Removed From Candidate List
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released its updated Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly appraisal of the candidate species list detailing those plants or animals that may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Ten species have been removed from the candidate list and seven species have been added to the list since the last review in May 2005. There are now 279 species currently recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.
The Service is soliciting public comment and additional information for candidate species, as well as information about species that should be included in future candidate updates. This information will be considered in preparing listing documents and future revisions or supplements to the notice of review.
"The candidate list helps the Service, states and our partners focus attention on species in need of conservation," said Service Director Dale Hall. "Because of successful conservation efforts with our partners, significant threats to a number of candidate species have been removed."
Hall also highlighted the important role conservation efforts play in reducing risks to species that have not yet been listed. The Utah-dwelling Wonderland Alice-flower found in Wayne County, Utah was removed as a candidate for listing as a result of increased surveys and monitoring, which found the plant was more abundant than previously believed. The surveys and monitoring programs were identified as key actions in a voluntary conservation agreement developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.
Also removed from the candidate list is the Horseshoe milkvetch found on the Duchesne River Formation in Uintah County, Utah and Mesa County, Colorado. The Horseshoe milkvetch was removed from the candidate list as the only potential threat of substance is from future energy development, but that does not threaten the species through most of its range. Based on available information, including the recent discovery of the plant in Colorado and an apparent low level of potential threat, there is insufficient information to justify a determination that the plant should be proposed listing.
Likewise the Aquarius paintbrush, a plant in the figwort family found only on the Aquarius plateau of south central Utah was removed because the factors affecting the plant do not pose a significant threat to population levels.
Seven other species were removed due to a lack of information on threats, information indicating the species is more abundant than once believed or the species is not subject to the degree of threats.
In some cases, the Service is precluded from listing a species as threatened or endangered by other, higher listing priorities. These "warranted but precluded" species are placed on the candidate list. This year, the seven new candidate species included in the Candidate Notice of Review are:
· One plant: Aboriginal pricklyapple, found in Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties, Florida;
· One mammal: New England cottontail rabbit, found in parts of Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island;
· One bird: Red knot, which migrates along the Atlantic coast;
· Two insects: Florida leafwing butterfly and Bartram’s hairstreak butterfly, both found in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, Florida;
· Two snails: Rough hornsnail, found in the lower Yellowleaf Creek, Shelby County and lower Coosa River below Wetumpka Shoals, Elmore County, Alabama; and black mudalia, found in the Upper Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River and Little Warrior River, Blount County, Alabama.
Identification of candidate species provides advance notice of potential listings, allowing resource managers to alleviate threats and thereby possibly removing the need to list species as endangered or threatened.
The complete notice and list of proposed candidate species appears in the September 12 edition of the Federal Register.
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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