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

September 22, 2014

An orange and yellow lily in a Florida habitat

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.

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See the Federal Register Rule



National Wildlife Refuge Week is October 12-18, 2014

Passage of Senate Resolution Commemorates the Occasion!

September 19, 2014

An orange and yellow lily in a Florida habitat

Pine lily at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Jennifer Hinckley, USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites America to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week (October 12-18, 2014) with a visit to a national wildlife refuge. While you are enjoying the fishing or hiking or just the tranquility, learn how wildlife refuges conserve your wildlife heritage and enrich your life.

National wildlife refuges help conserve wildlife, protect against erosion and flooding, and purify our air and water. They also support regional economies, teach children about nature, and offer protected places to be outdoors. Find a refuge near you:

“National wildlife refuges include some of America’s most treasured places, from the coastal islands of Maine to the deserts of the Southwest to Alaskan mountain ranges,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “National Wildlife Refuge Week is a perfect time to discover everything that refuges have to offer.”

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Conservation Efforts Help Keep Georgia Aster off Endangered Species List

September 17, 2014

A map of counties in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama where the Georgia aster is found

A map of Georgia aster distribution. Credit: Gary Peeples, USFWS.

Asheville, N.C. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that Georgia aster does not require federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, a decision reflecting years of conservation work by myriad partners.

Georgia aster is a wide-ranging, but rare, purple-flowering plant found in the upper Piedmont and lower mountain regions of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The plant has been a candidate for the federal endangered species list since 1999.

“Today’s decision is a great step forward in our southeastern strategy to conserve as many at-risk plants and animals as possible, before they need federal protection,” said the Service’s Southeast Regional Director Cindy Dohner. “The Georgia aster is thriving thanks to the proactive conservation efforts of many partners.”

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Protects Georgia Rockcress

September 11, 2014

A yellow flower with long buds

The Georgia rockcress. Photo: Michelle Elmore, The Nature Conservancy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is listing the Georgia rockcress, a perennial herb, found only in Georgia and Alabama, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The listing becomes effective October 14, 2014, 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

At the same time, the Service is designating about 732 acres of river bluff habitat as critical to the plant’s survival. In Georgia, the critical habitat areas are located in Gordon, Floyd, Harris, Muscogee, and Clay Counties. In Alabama, the critical habitat areas are found in Bibb, Dallas, Elmore, Monroe, Sumter and Wilcox Counties. The plant is found in all of the 17 areas designated as critical habitat.

Only about 5,000 individual plants still exist. Georgia rockcress generally occurs on steep river bluffs with shallow soils overlaying rock or with exposed rock outcroppings. Habitat degradation and the invasion of exotic species are the most serious threats to the plant’s continued existence. Disturbance, associated with timber harvesting, road building, quarrying, grazing, and hydropower dam construction, creates favorable conditions for the invasion of exotic weeds, especially Japanese honeysuckle.

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Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comment on Plan to Recover Endangered Frog

September 9, 2014

A yellow flower with long buds

A dusky gopher frog. Photo: John Tupy.

The dusky gopher frog, a stocky frog with a loud, guttural call, is heard less often now in the longleaf pine forests of Mississippi. Once found in Louisiana and Alabama, as well as Mississippi, it’s now only found in four locations in Harrison and Jackson counties in southern Mississippi.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a draft recovery plan for the dusky gopher frog.

“The dusky gopher frog is considered to be one of the 100 most endangered species in the world,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “This recovery plan will help us improve the frog’s precarious position and the longleaf pine habitat it and other rare plant and animal species like the threatened gopher tortoise depend upon.”

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Last updated: September 22, 2014