Randy Brown 707-822-7201
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced that the ashy storm-petrel, a seabird that lives off the California coast, does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service made this determination in what is known as a 12-month finding. The Service based its conclusion for the not warranted finding after a thorough review of the potential threats, and all available scientific and commercial information. The finding will be published in the Federal Register Wednesday, August 19.
The Service analyzed each of the factors that the petitioner, the Center for Biological Diversity, cited as grounds for ESA protection. The petitioner claimed that ashy storm-petrels needed protection due to negative affects associated with El Niño, climate change, research activities and mortality from native and nonnative predators.
Additionally, the petitioner cited other threats to the seabird including: insufficient regulatory protections, light pollution from commercial squid fishery boats, as well as pollution and contamination from oil, plastics and chemicals.
In making its determination, the Service addressed each of the petitioner’s claims. An explanation as to why each of the threats did not rise to the level that would warrant Federal protection is provided in the 12-month finding. The 12-month finding is available on the Internet at www.regulations.gov and www.fws.gov/arcata/.
The ashy storm-petrel is a smoke-gray, medium-sized bird with long slender wings, a long forked tail, and webbed feet. They are nonmigratory and forage primarily in the Pacific Ocean’s California Current. Their range is northern California to central Baja California, Mexico. Ashy storm-petrels may live as long as 25 years.
Ashy storm-petrels have been confirmed to breed at 26 locations on islands and offshore rocks from Marin County to Baja California, Mexico, and possibly several additional locations from Mendocino County south to San Clemente Island. The two main population and breeding centers for this species are on the Farallon Islands and the Channel Islands off of the California coast.
The Service encourages the public to continue to submit any new information concerning the status of, and threats to, the ashy storm-petrel which will help the Service monitor and support the ongoing management of this species.
Supporting documentation that was used in preparing this finding is available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, 1655 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 95521; telephone 707-822-7201; facsimile 707-822-8411.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.