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2007 Candidate Notice of Review -- Southeast Region Summary Information

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2007


Contacts:

Tom MacKenzie, 404-679-7291


In this Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presents an updated list of plant and animal species native to the United States as candidates for, or addition to, the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants under the Endangered Species Act.

The Southeast Region has reviewed and proposed one new species for listing, one species to be removed from the candidate list (another formerly removed), and 67 continuing candidate species including both petitioned and non-petitioned species. (See Tables 1 and 2 below.)

Identification of candidate species can assist environmental planning efforts by providing advance notice of potential listings, allowing landowners and resource managers to alleviate threats and thereby possibly remove the need to list species as endangered or threatened. Even if we subsequently list a candidate species, the early notice provided here could result in more options for species management and recovery by prompting candidate conservation measures to alleviate threats to the species.

The CNOR summarizes the status and threats that we evaluated in order to determine that species qualify as candidates and to assign a listing priority number (LPN) to each species, or to remove species from candidate status.

New Candidate

For this species, we find that we have on file sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to support a proposal to list as endangered or threatened, but that preparation and publication of a proposal is precluded by higher-priority listing actions (i.e., these meet our definition of a candidate species).

Laurel dace (Phoxinus saylori) – The laurel dace is a rare minnow known only from three independent systems on the Walden Ridge section of the Cumberland Plateau, including Soddy Creek, Sale Creek, and Piney River. The primary threats to the laurel dace stem from impacts to riparian and instream habitat resulting from incompatible land uses. The riparian habitats associated with some streams occupied by laurel dace have been affected by extensive timber removal activities on Walden Ridge in their vicinity; these activities often do not employ adequate streamside management zones or best management practices for road construction. Proposed projects, including installation of a water line that would cross occupied streams and construction of an impoundment on a tributary to an occupied stream, present additional direct and indirect threats to laurel dace habitat in the headwaters of Sale and Soddy creeks. We believe that the threat of habitat degradation from siltation across the range of laurel dace and the localized threats facing populations in Sale and Soddy creeks combined with vulnerable status of the populations in Soddy and Sale creeks constitute threats collectively of high magnitude, but are nonimminent.

Candidate Removals

Based on findings in our updated assessment of the species, we conclude that listing this species under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. There is no portion of its range for which we have information that the species might be locally threatened. The current level of threats will not result in the species becoming in danger of extinction nor do we foresee threats increasing at any time in the future. The species no longer meets our definition of a candidate, and we have removed it from candidate status.
Surprising cave beetle (Pseudanophthalmus inexpectatus Barr) The surprising cave beetle is a small (4 mm), eyeless, reddish-brown, troglobitic insect that belongs to the ground beetle family Carabidae. The species is predatory, feeding upon other small cave invertebrates such as spiders, mites, and millipedes. The species was originally described from two caves in Mammoth Cave National Park (MCNP), Kentucky – the historic entrance of Mammoth Cave (or Crevice Pit) and White Cave. Subsequent to this discovery, it was later found in Great Onyx Cave, in 2002, the species was discovered in a previously unnamed cave (now called Surprising Cave), and in 2006, the species was discovered in a fifth cave (Saucer Cave) within MCNP. Thus, we now know that the distribution of the species includes at least five areas within MCNP, and based on the information now available, we believe the species is more common within these habitats than first believed.

The most significant potential threats to the species (trampling by humans, habitat disturbance, and disruption of energy inputs) are abated by its location within a national park (MCNP) and MCNP's strict control over the majority of the cave system and its habitats. Tours are offered in only two of the five caves where the species is known to occur, and tours take place in areas away from known beetle habitats. Habitat disturbance, vandalism, and entrance manipulation are unlikely to occur because the caves are in isolated, protected locations within a national park. Other potential threats, such as contamination of cave systems through polluted stormwater runoff and toxic chemical spills, are not considered to be significant because of their low probability of occurrence.

In addition, the NPS and the Service entered into a 15-year Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) for the surprising cave beetle in 2001 with the National Park Service (NPS) at MCNP. The purpose of this CCA is for the Service and NPS to jointly implement conservation measures for the surprising cave beetle in MCNP. Management activities undertaken by MCNP under the CCA increase protection and enhance the status of this species. The Agreement was updated in 2004, and the NPS continues their efforts under this agreement.

Beaver Cave beetle (Pseudanophthalmus major) – see Federal Register notice published on October 11, 2006 (71 FR 59711).

Continuing Candidates

The CNOR plays a crucial role in the monitoring system for all candidate species by providing notice that we are actively seeking information regarding the status of those species. We review all new information on candidate species as it becomes available, prepare an annual species assessment form that reflects monitoring results and other new information, and identify any species for which emergency listing may be appropriate. Thus, the CNOR and accompanying species assessment forms also constitute the Service’s annual finding on the status of petitioned species pursuant to section 4(b)(3)(C)(i). We have identified the candidate species for which we received petitions by the code “C*” in the category column on the left side of Table 1. In addition to identifying petitioned candidate species in Table 1 below, we also present brief summaries of why these particular candidates warrant listing. More complete information, including references, is found in the species assessment forms. You may obtain a copy of these forms from the Fish and Wildlife Service's Internet website: http://www.fws.gov/endangered.


National News Release

Table 1 -- CNOR

Table 2 -- CNOR

 


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov/southeast or http://www.fws.gov/.



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