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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

 

May 6, 2004

Contact:         Sharon Rose (Mountain-Prairie Region) 303-236-4580
Betsy Lordan (Washington) 202-219-7499

 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today published a revised list of species of plants and animals for 2003 that may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, including 26 new candidate species added since the Candidate Notice of Review was last published in 2002.

If the Service has sufficient information to propose listing a species as threatened or endangered, but is precluded from taking action by other, higher listing priorities, the species becomes a candidate species.

 In the eight states that make up the Mountain-Prairie Region, including Colorado, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming,  the status of 17 candidates were reviewed and the priority ratings for three of those were elevated in this review.  In addition, the Service is evaluating new information on the black-tailed prairie dog, and a new candidate assessment form is currently in preparation.

             Those four include the following:

The Gunnison sage grouse was rated a 5 out of 11 in 2002 on the level of priority.  It was changed to a level 2 in this Candidate Notice of Review.  The range of the Gunnison sage-grouse has been reduced to less than 25 percent of its historical range.  Drought continues to threaten already low numbers of Gunnison sage-grouse.  Size of the range and quality of its habitat have been reduced by direct habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation from building development road and utility corridors, fences, energy development, conversion of native habitat to hay or other crop fields, alternation or destruction of wetland and riparian areas, inappropriate livestock management, competition for winter range by big game and creation of large reservoirs.  Numerous conservation actions have occurred and funding and plans for additional conservation actions are in place.  However, threats to the sage-grouse currently have not been eliminated or reduced enough through conservation actions to remove the potential need for listing.

             The status of the fluvial arctic grayling in the upper Missouri River in Montana is such that its priority rating has increased from a 9 to a 3.  Its range once included the upper Missouri River drainage, but now the only remnant population is restricted to the upper Big Hole River, an area estimated to be less than 5 percent of the species’ historical range.  Despite long-term grayling conservation efforts by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the Big Hole Watershed Committee; the US Fish and Wildlife Service; and others, in the fall of 2002, the remnant grayling population in the Big Hole River apparently had declined to such a low level that not enough fish were captured to estimate population density.  The spring 2002 spawning surveys captured the lowest number of grayling in the past 14 years of sampling and the spawning population was skewed to older fish, indicating limited recruitment for the last 2 years. Efforts to reestablish fluvial arctic grayling populations within the historic range in the upper Missouri River basin began in 1997.  At this time, there is no evidence that these efforts have been successful.  On-the-ground conservation efforts for the grayling are ongoing.  Biologists have found increased population numbers in the lower, cooler reaches of tributaries to the main stem Big Hole River. 

 The Graham beardtongue, which grows in oil shale barrens of the Green River formation in Utah and adjacent Colorado, is located within developed and expanding oil and gas fields,  and includes several wells and access roads within the species’ occupied habitat.  The potential threats associated with oil and gas development within the habitat of the Graham beardtongue are considered to be of high magnitude and are considered imminent, therefore, increasing the priority level from 5 to 2.

 An updated finding for the black-tailed prairie dog is not included in this edition of the Candidate Notice of Review.  As the Service received significant new information about this species, it is considering this information and, upon completion, will publish a finding for this species in an upcoming issue of the Federal Register.  As explained in the Federal Register notice, the current listing priority number for this species is 8.  The table at the end of the notice incorrectly lists the listing priority number as 11.

 The Service 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 for the scientific determination of whether a species may warrant listing under the Act, including information from private, university and government scientists, local, State and Federal land management and planning agencies and private citizens.

The Notice also informs the public about species the Service is considering proposing for protection, and it encourages conservation of candidate species. In addition, the Notice includes 24 domestic animal species that have already been proposed for addition to the list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants, but for which a final listing determination has not been made. A proposal undergoes public review and comment before a final decision is made.

"The candidate list is an important tool, helping to identify imperiled species and focusing attention on the need to conserve them before they have to receive Endangered Species Act protection. By working to recover these species now, in partnership with states, local communities and individuals, we can implement flexible, cost-effective conservation measures that put them on the road to recovery," said Service Director Steve Williams.

 The Service has removed 19 species from the Candidate Species List  since the lists were last revised in 2002:

      ·        One species was removed because currently available                          information does not support a listing proposal.

·        Four species were removed because the proposal to list them was withdrawn.

·        Fourteen proposed species became listed as endangered.

 The complete Notice and list of candidates and proposed species appear in today's Federal Register. Species added to the candidate list since 2002 are listed below.

 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 more than 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and  other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 fishery resource 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 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.

- FWS -

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov

Species Added to the Candidate List Since 2002:                                                                                                                                            Region

MAMMAL

 Fisher, West Coast Population (Martes pennanti)                      Pacific

            California, Oregon, and Washington

BIRDS

Kittlitz’s Murrelet (Brachyramphus brevirostris)

Alaskan coastal waters                                                       Alaska 

Xantus’ Murrelet (Synthliboramphus hypoleucus)

U.S. and Mexican WestCoast                                            Pacific

AMPHIBIANS

 Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog (Ranamuscosa)                             Pacific

            Sierra Nevada Distinct Population Segment
Yosemite Toad (Bufo canorus)                                                            Pacific

            California

 MUSSELS

 Seven Gulf Coast Mussels                                                                                                   

Round Ebonyshell (Fusconaia rotulata)                                               Southeast
Southern Kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus jonesi)                                   Southeast
Narrow Pigtoe (Fusconaia escambia)                                                 Southeast
Southern Sandshell (Lampsilis australis)                                             Southeast
Fuzzy Pigtoe (Pleurobema strodeanum)                                              Southeast
Choctaw Bean (Villosa choctawensis)                                                 Southeast
Tapered Pigtoe (Quincuncina burkei)                                                   Southeast

Three Other Mussel species                                                                        

Rayed Bean (Villosa fabalis) 

Entire Tennessee River system; southern Ohio River    Midwest

Sheepnose Mussel (Plethobasus cyphyus) 

Mississippi River system streams                                      Midwest

Spectaclecase (Cumberlandia monodonta) 

Streams in the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri Rivers      Midwest

INSECTS                                                                                      Region 

 Five cave beetles                                                                              

Coleman Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus colemanensis) 

Montgomery County, Tennessee                                     Southeast

Fowler’s Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus fowlerae)

Clay County, Tennessee                                                                 Southeast

Insular Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus insularis) Davidson County, Tenessee                                                                                             Southeast

Soothsayer Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus tiresias) DeKalb County, Tennessee                                                                                                                                                                                          Southeast

Noblett’s Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus paulus)

            Monroe County, Tennessee                                           Southeast

 One other insect

Nevares Spring Naucorid Bug (Ambrysus funebris) Inyo County, California                                                                                              Pacific

 FLOWERING PLANTS

 Hala Pepe (Pleomele fernaldii)

Hawaiian Island of Lanai                                                      Pacific

Brand’s Phacelia (Phacelia stellaris)

San Diego County, Riverside County, California                                                                                               Pacific

Churchill Narrows Buckwheat (Eriogonum diatomaceum)

Lyon County, Nevada                                                                                                     Pacific

Orcutt’s Hazardia (Hazardia orcuttii) Encinitas,California                 Pacific

Everglades Bully (Sideroxylon reclinatum ssp. austrofloridense)

            Miami-Dade County, Florida                                                                                 Southeast

Species Removed From the Candidate List Since 2002:

MAMMALS

 Pygmy Rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis)                                       Pacific

            Columbia Basin Distinct Population Segment

Reason for removal: Listed as endangered

San Miguel Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis littoralis)                            Pacific

            Channel Islands

Reason for removal: Listed as endangered

San Miguel Island Fox (Urocyon littoraliscatalinae)                            Pacific

            Channel Islands

Reason for removal: Listed as endangered

Santa Cruz Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis santacruzae)                         Pacific

            Channel Islands

Reason for removal: Listed as endangered
Santa Rosa Island
Fox (Urocyon littoralis santarosae)               Pacific

Channel Islands

Reason for removal: Listed as endangered

BIRD

 Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus                              Mountain-Prairie

            Western U.S., Canada, Mexico
Reason for removal: Proposed listing withdrawn

 AMPHIBIANS

California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense                Pacific

            Sonoma County Distinct Population Segment

Reason for removal: Listed as endangered

Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog (Ranamuscosa)                                  Pacific

            Southern California Distinct Population Segment
Reason for removal: Listed as endangered

FISH

 Coastal Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki)                           Pacific

           Southwestern Washington/Columbia River Distinct Population Segment

Reason for removal: Proposed listing withdrawn


SNAIL
 
Tumbling Creek Cavesnail (Antrobia culveri)                                                                                                                                      Midwest          Missouri

Reason for removal: Listed as endangered

INSECT

 Carson wandering Skipper (Pseudocopaeodes eunus obscurus)                                                                                          Pacific

 

California, Nevada

Reason for removal: Listed as endangered

 FLOWERING PLANTS

 Ambrosia (Ambrosia pumila)                                                           Pacific

            San Diego
Reason for removal: Listed as endangered
          Slick Spot Peppergrass (Lepidiumpapilliferum)                    Pacific

            Idaho
Reason for removal: Proposed listing withdrawn
 
Large-flowered Wooly Meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa grandiflora)                                                                                              Pacific

            Oregon
Reason for removal: Listed as endangered
Cook's Lomatium (Lomatium cookii)                                                    Pacific

            Oregon
Reason for removal: Listed as endangered
No Common Name (Nesogenesrotensis)                                             Pacific

            Mariana Islands
Reason for removal: Listed as endangered
 No Common Name (Osmoxylon mariannense)                                    Pacific

            Mariana Islands
Reason for removal: Listed as endangered
No Common Name (Tabernaemontanarotensis)                                   Pacific

            Mariana Islands, GuamReason for removal: Proposed listing withdrawn

FERN

 No Common Name (Dryopteris glabra var. pusilla (=Dryopteris tenebrosa))                                                                                                  Pacific         

Hawaii

Reason for removal: Information currently available does not support listing 

 

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