Claire Markgraf 202/208-5634
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released its yearly appraisal of the current status of plants and animals that are candidates for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Candidate Notice of Review was published in today's Federal Register. Four species were removed from the candidate list and five species were added since the last review in September 2006. There are now 280 species recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.
As part of this review, the Service is soliciting public comment and additional information on these candidate species, as well as information on species that may be eligible for addition to future candidate updates. This information will be valuable 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 and effort on the species most in need of careful management," said Service Director H. Dale Hall. "Because of successful conservation efforts with our partners, significant threats to a number of these candidate species have been removed."
Hall highlighted the important role conservation efforts play in reducing risks to species not yet listed. The Surprising Cave beetle in Kentucky is one example. It was removed as a candidate after an assessment found that the species' range was larger and the threats to its continued existence had decreased. In addition, Mammoth Cave National Park entered into a 15-year agreement to conserve the cave beetle and its habitat, which includes Surprising Cave and three other caves in the park. This conservation agreement is just one of many such agreements across the country helping to conserve at-risk species before they require ESA protection. More than 150 candidate and at-risk species currently benefit from candidate conservation agreements.
Three other species were removed from the candidate list this year:
This year, the Service evaluated several species under the candidate process and found that five warrant ESA protection. The five new candidate species are:
Identification of candidate species provides resource managers with advance notice of species in need of consultation, allowing them to alleviate threats before the protection of the ESA is required.
The Service has several tools for protecting candidate species and their habitat including a grants program that funds conservation projects by private landowners, states and territories. Additionally, the Service can enter into Candidate Conservation Agreements (CAA), formal agreements between the Service and one or more parties to address the conservation needs of proposed or candidate species, or species likely to become candidates, before they become listed as endangered or threatened. The CAA participants voluntarily commit to implementing specific actions that will remove or reduce the threats to these species, thereby contributing to stabilizing or restoring the species.
The complete notice and list of proposed candidate species appears in today's Federal Register and can be viewed online at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/candidates/index.html.
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 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 548 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 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 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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