North Florida Ecological Services Office
Southeast Region

Threatened and Endangered Species: Declines may show butterfly needs help

Service Initiates Status Review of Monarch Butterfly

Monarch butterfly in flower at Great bay National Wildlife Refuge

Monarch butterfly at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts.

Photo: Greg Thompson/USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it will be conducting a status review of the monarch butterfly under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service has determined that a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and Dr. Lincoln Brower to list a subspecies of monarch (Danaus plexippus plexippus) presents substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted.

Monarch butterflies are found throughout the United States and some populations migrate vast distances across multiple generations each year. Many monarchs fly between the U.S., Mexico and Canada – a journey of over 3,000 miles. This journey has become more perilous for many monarchs because of threats along their migratory paths and on their breeding and wintering grounds. Threats include habitat loss – particularly the loss of milkweed, the monarch caterpillar's sole food source – and mortality resulting from pesticide use. Monarch populations have declined significantly in recent years.

The notice will publish in the Federal Register December 31, 2014. The public comment period will close March 2, 2015. To view the notice and submit information, visit and search for docket number FWS-R3-ES-2014-0056.

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Direct Link to Docket # FWS-R3-ES-2014-0056 - active on Dec. 31, 2014

Information on ESA petition process

Threatened and Endangered Species: Protection afforded rufa subspecies

Service Protects Red Knot as Threatened Species under Endangered Species Act

Red Knots at Mispillion Harbor in Delware

Red Knots at Mispillion Harbor, Delaware.

Photo: Gregory Breese/USFWS

The rufa subspecies of the red knot now will receive protection as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, the Service announced today. "Unfortunately, this hearty shorebird is no match for the effects of widespread emerging challenges like climate change and coastal development, coupled with the historic impacts of horseshoe crab overharvesting, which have sharply reduced its population in recent decades," said Service Director Dan Ashe.

On September 27, 2013, the Service released a proposal to list the rufa red knot as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and submitted that determination to the Federal Register by the legal deadline of November 28. The Candidate Notice of Review published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2014, listed the rufa red knot as a candidate species. The rufa red knot will be removed from the candidate list upon the effective date of the final listing determination.

During more than 130 days of public comment periods and three public hearings since September 2013, the Service received more than 17,400 comments on the threatened listing proposal, many of which were supportive form letters, while others raised issues with the adequacy of horseshoe crab management, the impacts of wind turbines, the inclusion of interior states in the range, and other topics. The agency requested additional time to complete the final decision so that we could thoroughly analyze complex information available after the proposal, such as national and global climate assessments, and so that we could carefully consider and address extensive public comments. A thorough response to comments is included in the final document.

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Threatened and Endangered Species: ESA status reviews

Fish and Wildlife Service Conducts Five-Year Status Reviews of 27 Southeastern Species

A reticulated flatwoods salamander larvae.

Photo: Kevin Enge, FWC.

The Atlantic salt marsh snake and the frosted flatwoods salamander are among 27 federally protected species that will be getting a check-up.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is launching five-year status reviews of 17 endangered species and 10 threatened species occurring in one or more of the 10 states across the Southeast Region and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Service is seeking comments and information from the public on all 27 species by November 24, 2014, 60 days from publication in the Federal Register.

The reviews will ensure listing classifications under the Endangered Species Act are accurate and reflect the best available information. In addition to reviewing the classification of each one, a five-year review presents an opportunity to track the species' recovery progress. It may benefit species by providing valuable information to guide future conservation efforts. Information gathered during a review can assist in making funding decisions, consideration related to reclassifying species status, conducting interagency consultations, making permitting decisions, and determining whether to update recovery plans, and other actions under the ESA.

CORRECTION: The Federal Register Notice incorrectly identified the Service's point of contact for the Atlantic salt marsh snake and Squirrel Chimney cave shrimp species as Todd Mecklenborg; the correct point of contact for these species is Bill Brooks as listed in the "Request for Information" section under "Mammals" - Florida salt marsh vole.

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Federal Register Notice

Threatened and Endangered Species

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 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.

The 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 seeking additional substantive data or other information from researchers, federal and state agencies, and the public regarding the West Indian manateefor use in conducting its reviews. The 60-day comment period closed at 11:59 PM, September 2, 2014. Comments and data received during the comment period are available for viewing and downloading at the Federal eRulemaking Portal [] search for Docket Number FWS-R4-ES-2014-0024, which is the docket number for this action.

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Federal Register Notice

Finding FAQs

Manatee 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.

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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.

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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: December 29, 2014