Diana Weaver 413/253-8329
Tom Chapman 304/636-6586 x12
Glenn Smith 413/253-8627
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced today a proposal to remove the
"When a species recovers to the point where we can remove it from the List of Threatened and Endangered Species, we have a big success story," Kempthorne said. "In this case, recovery of the squirrel population depended upon the revival of the spruce forest ecosystem spurred by the
The latest scientific and commercial information on the status of the squirrel shows that threats to the population have either been eliminated or largely abated. Recovery actions have resulted in new information demonstrating a significant increase in the number of individual squirrels and reproduction over multiple generations. The data show that suitable habitat has vastly improved due to the protective actions of the Forest Service, and there is a lack of threats to the species as a whole.
If the proposed action is finalized, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with assistance from the state of
The small, nocturnal flying squirrel depends upon the red spruce ecosystem in the Allegheny highlands of
The Service is accepting comments and information on the proposed action published in today's Federal Register, http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/fr-cont.html. Comments must be received by Feb. 20, 2007. They may be mailed or faxed to:
Assistant Chief, Endangered and Threatened Species
The flying squirrel status review is available at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/pdf/flysqrev.pdf. Hard copies are available upon request from the Service's West Virginia Field Office, 304-636-6586.
For additional information about the
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.