North Florida Ecological Services Office
Southeast Region

Threatened and Endangered Species: Service Seeks Information for Status Review

Petitioned Action on West Indian Manatee May Be Warranted

Photo of Florida manatee mother and calve

Adult Florida manatees and calve

Photo: USFWS

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is moving forward on a status review for the West Indian manatee following an evaluation of information submitted in support of a 2012 petition to reclassify the species, including its subspecies, the Florida manatee and Antillean manatee, from endangered to threatened.

Today's announcement, referred to as a 90-day substantial finding, marks the start of a more in depth status review and analysis required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to determine whether reclassification of the West Indian manatee is warranted. The Service also is electing to simultaneously conduct an updated five-year status review also required by the ESA.

The Service is also soliciting additional data or other information fromn researchers, federal and state agencies, and the public regarding the West Indian manatee that for use in conducting their reviews. The 60-day comment period for submitting this information is now open. In order to be consider in the 12-month review, this data and information must be received on or before September 2, 2014. See the Federal Register notice for submission details.

News Release

Federal Register Notice

Finding FAQs

Manatee Information


Threatened and Endangered Species: Critical habitat designation aids in focused conservation

NOAA, FWS Establish Critical Habitat for Loggerhead Sea Turtles
in Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and the Department of Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) today announced two final rules to designate critical habitat for the threatened loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in the Atlantic Ocean and on coastal beach habitat along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The NOAA-designated marine critical habitat includes some nearshore reproductive areas directly off of nesting beaches from North Carolina through Mississippi, winter habitat in North Carolina, breeding habitat in Florida, constricted migratory corridors in North Carolina and Florida, and Sargassum habitat, which is home to the majority of juvenile turtles, in the western Gulf of Mexico and in U.S. waters within the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean.

The USFWS-designated terrestrial critical habitat areas include 88 nesting beaches in coastal counties located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. These beaches account for 48 percent of an estimated 1,531 miles of coastal beach shoreline used by loggerheads, and about 84 percent of the documented numbers of nests, within these six states....more

Details of the designation, including the GIS shapefile, available here.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the terrestrial designation


Threatened and Endangered Species: Thirty Year Recovery Effort Has Brought Bird Back from Brink of Extinction

Secretary Jewell Announces Conservation Success Story in Down-listing of Wood Stork

Photo of roosting wood storks

Wood storks

Photo: USFWS

TOWNSEND, GA – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is down-listing the wood stork from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), reflecting a highly successful conservation and recovery effort spanning three decades. Jewell made the announcement at the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, home to the largest wood stork rookery in Georgia.

"The down-listing of the wood stork from endangered to threatened demonstrates how the Endangered Species Act can be an effective tool to protect and recover imperiled wildlife from the brink of extinction, especially when we work in partnership with states, tribes, conservation groups, private landowners, and other stakeholders to restore vital habitat," Secretary Jewell said. ... read more.

News Release

Federal Register Notice

Decision FAQs

Wood Stork Information


Threantened and Endangered Species: ESA consultations

Changes made to ESA Section 7 consultation
request for FEMA CLOMR and CLOMR-F letters

FEMA is no longer accepting a programmatic clearance letter in support of Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) and CLOMR_F Letters of Request. As such, the North Florida FWS programmatic clearance letter is no longer available. FEMA now requires consultation letters be specific to each project. Public and private landowners, project managers/planners, and/or consultants now need to submit a clearance request to the Service and FEMA for each project.

Originally designed to assist private small parcel landowners and businesses, the programmatic clearance letter outlined details and specific scenarios and criteria where additional Service review was not considered necessary.

The Service's North Florida ES staff is providing updated information to aid project proponents in their development of a clearance request. See detailed requirements and preferred submission method via link below.

Details Available


Get Outdoors: 'BIG' grants awarded

More than $16 Million in Grants Will Boost Recreational Boating

Good news for recreational boaters: The Service awarded more than $14.27 million in Boating Infrastructure Grant program competitive grants to 10 states and the District of Columbia. The Service also will provide approximately $2.48 million to 27 states, commonwealths and territories willing to match smaller, non-competitive grants dedicated to boating infrastructure projects. The funds pay for floating docks, fixed piers, mooring buoys, sewage pump-out stations and other infrastructure that benefits fish and wildlife habitat while providing access for outdoor recreation.

News Release

More Information


Threatened and Endangered Species: Proposals designed for predictability and transperancy

Federal Agencies Propose Revised Rules to Improve Implementation of the Endangered Species Act

The Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service – the two federal agencies responsible for administering the ESA – today proposed two rules and a policy to improve the process of designating areas of “critical habitat” and consulting on the effects of federal actions on critical habitat. These proposals are designed to increase the predictability and transparency of the Services’ actions related to critical habitat under the ESA.

News Release

More Information


Threatened and Endangered Species: Update Permit Conditions

Service posts updated permit conditions for captive sea turtles

Juvenile Hawksbill sea turtle being held.

Hawksbill sea turtle

Photo: USFWS

Individuals and institutions possessing a Service permit to hold captive sea turtles must meet new permit conditions.

The updated Standard Permit Conditions encompass the transport, rehabilitation, and disposition of sea turtles.

Details for the new conditions can be found on the Landowner/Consultant Tools and Sea Turtle information pages.

Frequently Asked Questions on Sea Turtle Permits


Service makes updated Skink Guidance Available

Sand Skink

Sand skink.

Photo: USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has revised the conservation guidelines and survey protocol for the threatened sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi) and blue-tailed mole skink (Eumeces egregius lividus). The updated information is available via the link below and on our Consultant/Landowner Tools reference page.

Skink Information


Updated Eastern indigo snake protocols for North & Central Florida

Eastern Indigo Snake

Eastern Indgio Snake
Photo: USFWS

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's North Florida Ecological Services Office (NFESO) updated its Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon corais couperi) protocols. The updated survey protocols provide consultants and landowners a project planning tool to improve the Service's review of permit applications and proposed land clearing activities for potential effects on the federally-threatened eastern indigo snake. The tool is applicable to the NFESFO geographic area of responsibility, which includes the following counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lafayette, Lake, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Pasco, Pinellas, Putnam, St. Johns, Seminole, Sumter, Suwannee, Taylor, Union, and Volusia.

Click here for to review the new information


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Last updated: July 21, 2014