Manatee Reclassified from Endangered to Threatened as Habitat Improves and Population Expands – Existing Federal Protections Remain in Place
Partnerships bringing giant sea cow back from brink of extinction
March 30, 2017
On the heels of Manatee Appreciation Day, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the downlisting of the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened. Notable increases in manatee populations and improvements in its habitat allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to change the species’ status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The downlisting comes after diverse conservation efforts and collaborations by Florida and other manatee states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Caribbean nations, public and private organizations and citizens, there have been notable increases in manatee populations and improvements in its habitat.
“The Fish and Wildlife Service has worked hand in hand with state and local governments, businesses, industry, and countless stakeholders over many years to protect and restore a mammal that is cherished by people around the world,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Without this type of collaboration and the commitment of state and local partners, this downlisting would not have been possible.”
Endangered Species Act Protection Not Needed for Four Southeastern Animals
September 20, 2016
Responding to requests to add them to the federal threatened and endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that the angular dwarf crayfish, Icebox Cave beetle, Clifton Cave beetle, and the Virgin Island coqui do not need such protection.
“To receive Endangered Species Act protection, the species must be facing threats that would likely cause extinction or threaten existence in the foreseeable future,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “They face little to no apparent threat or are the focus of ongoing conservation efforts enabling them to overcome threats.”
Previous reviews found that the two cave beetles warranted inclusion on the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) list of protected wildlife and plants, but doing so was precluded by higher-priority species. With this decision, the Service has reconsidered those species, taking into account recent conservation efforts, species abundance, and changes in threats. This decision marks the first time the Service has considered the angular dwarf crayfish for the endangered species list. In January 2014, the Service published a 90-Day finding stating that the Virgin Islands coqui, a small frog, may warrant listing under the ESA. The Service examined the best historical and current information for the coqui to make its determination in this 12-month finding.
Fish and Wildlife Service Conducts Five-Year Status Reviews of 14 Caribbean Species
August 17, 2016
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct five-year status reviews of 12 endangered and two threatened species occurring in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. The public is invited to provide information and comments concerning these species on or before October 18, 2016.
These five-year reviews will ensure listing classifications under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are accurate. In addition to reviewing the classification of these species, 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.
This notice announces a review of two birds, two boas, and eight plants currently listed as endangered: Yellow-shouldered blackbird, Puerto Rican plain pigeon, Puerto Rican boa, Virgin Islands boa, and the plants Auerodendron pauciflorum, Catesbaea melanocarpa, Elaphoglossum serpens, Mitracarpus maxwelliae, M. polycladus, Polystichum calderonense, Tectaria estremerana, and bariaco (Trichilia triacantha).
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists the Elfin-Woods Warbler as a Threatened Species with Exemptions for Shade Coffee -- Also Proposes Critical Habitat and Releases Economic Analysis --
June 21, 2016
Contacts: Marelisa Rivera, email@example.com, 787-851-7297 Jeff Fleming, firstname.lastname@example.org, 404-679-7287
Faced with fewer suitable habitat areas, coupled with a declining population, the elfin-woods warbler is now listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. This action takes effect July 22, 2016, 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register.
Under the law, a threatened listing means the species is likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future. It allows for more flexibility in how the ESA’s protections are implemented by allowing exemptions for some activities that provide conservation benefits to the warbler, reflecting work with foresters and landowners over the past five years. Read full press release...
Services Revise Proposal for Improving Endangered Species Act Petition Process
Proposal designed to improve quality of listing petitions and promote coordination between state and federal wildlife agencies
April 19, 2016
Contact: Brian Hires, email@example.com, 703-358-2191
In consideration of feedback from the public and stakeholder groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) have revised their proposed improvements to the regulations governing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) petitioning process. The regulations guide how species are petitioned for listing, delisting or reclassification under the ESA, and how critical habitat is petitioned for revision. The proposed changes are designed to improve the quality of petitions the Service receives and promote better coordination with state wildlife agencies. Read full press release...
Habitat Conservation Plan Proposed for Palmas del Mar Development, Humacao Puerto Rico
March 28, 2016
Contact: Marelisa Rivera, firstname.lastname@example.org 787-851-7297 ext 206
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is reviewing a proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for the renewal and modification of the previous HCP at Palmas del Mar. The Palmas Homeowners Association (PHA) has requested an incidental take permit for effects to nesting green, leatherback and hawksbill sea turtles by the various coastal developments and beach maintenance. Top offset the projects impacts to nesting sea turtles, PHA has proposed a series of mitigation measures to minimize impacts from development lighting on the beach, beach cleanup and mantenance and beach use by residents to aid in the conservation of these species and their natural habitat.
Four Southeastern Species Do Not Require Federal Protection, Two Others Under Further Review
March 15, 2016
Contact: Jennifer Strickland, 404-679-7299, email@example.com
Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a batch of 90-day-findings affecting a variety of species across the nation. Biologist have determined the following species found in the southeastern United States do not require further review for federal protection at this time:
•Monito skink in Puerto Rico
•Southern dusky salamander in Alabam, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and possibly South Carolina
•South Mountain gray-cheeked salamander in North Carolina
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Reviews Petition for Seven Species Found in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands
January 11, 2016
Contact: Jennifer Strickland, 404-679-7299, firstname.lastname@example.org
Great St. Croix skink Credit: A.J. Meier
Wildlife experts in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continue to make steady progress in reviewing petitions seeking Endangered Species Act protection for nearly 500 southeastern species. Today, the agency announced a batch of "90-day findings," the first benchmark in its assessment of whether plants or animals identified in a petition may require federal protection.
For more information on the 90-day finding process, visit: http://www.fws.gov/southeast/candidateconservation/90-day-finding/
U.S. Fish and Wildlife to Reclassify West Indian Manatee from Endangered to Threatened
January 7, 2016
West Indian Manatee Credit: S. Whitcraft, USFWS
Miami Fla. - As a result of significant improvements in its population and habitat conditions, and reductions in direct threats, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that the West Indian manatee is proposed to be downlisted from endangered to threatened status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposal to downlist the manatee to threatened will not affect federal protections currently afforded by the ESA, and the Service remains committed to conservation actions to fully recover manatee populations.
The ESA defines an endangered species as one currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and a threatened species as one that is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. Given its review of the best scientific and commercial information available, including analyses of threats and populations, the Service proposes that the West Indian manatee no longer falls within the ESA's definition of endangered and should be reclassified as threatened. The service will publish its proposal in the Federal Register tomorrow, beginning a 90-day comment period in which the public is invited to submit scientific or technical information that will aid the agency in reaching its final decision.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List the Elfin-woods Warbler
September 29, 2015
Contact: Marelisa Rivera, email@example.com, 787-851-7297
Tom Mackenzie, tom_macKenzie@fws.gov, 404-679-7291
Elfin-woods warbler Photo Credit: Jan P Zegarra
Faced with fewer suitable habitat areas coupled with a declining population, the Elfin-woods warbler warrants listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a opening a 60-day public comment period on the proposal to add the warbler to the federal list of threatened and endangered species.... read the full press release
Caribbean Ecological Service's Wildlife and Habitat Risk Map for Utility-Scale Land-Based Wind Energy Projects
May 5, 2015
Contact: Marelisa Rivera, Deputy Field Supervisor, Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, Boquerón, Puerto Rico, 787-851-7297
As Puerto Rico shifts to renewable energy production to decrease the need for carbon-based fuel, wind energy will be an alternative source of power. The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on March 23, 2012 issued the Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines. These voluntary guidelines help shape the smart siting, design and operation of the growing wind energy development. Environmental risks include direct impacts to wildlife such as collisions with turbines and associated infrastructure, loss or degradation of habitat from turbines and infrastructure, fragmentation of habitat, displacement or behavioral changes, and indirect impacts like increased predator populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) considers species of concern to be those that are rare, threatened or endangered, along with migratory birds and bats.
Today, the Service's Caribbean Ecological Service Field Office in collaboration with the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative (CLCC) and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources is releasing an island-wide map showing relative risk to species of concern and sensitive habitats that can be associated with potential wind energy projects in Puerto Rico. The map depicts the Service's estimation of areas of potentially low, moderate or high environmental risk to species of concern and sensitive habitats. It also depicts managed conservation areas federally-owned protected lands on the island of Puerto Rico.
Fish and Wildlife Service conducts five-year status
reviews of 27 southeastern species
September 22, 2014
Contact: Tom Mackenzie, Tom_MacKenzie@fws.gov, 404-679-7291
Photo credit: USFWS
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.
Written comments and information on the Palma manaca (Calyptronoma rivalis) Puerto Rican Palm Tree, may be e-mailed, faxed, or sent by regular mail to:
Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, PO Box 491, Boqueron, PR 00622; fax 787-851-7440. For information on this species, contact Marelisa Rivera at 787-851-7297, or firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Protects Three Caribbean Plants Under Endangered Species Act
Photo credit: USFWS
September 8, 2014
Contacts: Marelisa Rivera, email@example.com, 787-851-7297
Tom MacKenzie, firstname.lastname@example.org, 404-679-7291
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is listing the plants Agave eggersiana and Gonocalyx concolor as endagered and Varronia rupicola as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The listing goes into effect on October 9, 2014, 30 days following its publication in the Federal Register. Read full press release (PDF 163KB)>>
Comunicado de Prensa 8 de septiembre de 2014 versión PDF (68KB)
Final Rule - Federal Register Notice PDF ver. (281KB)
Final Critical Habitat Rule - Federal Register Notice PDF ver. (3,507KB)
Sunday Species Snapshot Blog writes article about the
Puerto Rican Parrot
Photo by Tom MacKenzie, USFWS via Flickr
April 9, 2014
The only native parrot species still living in the U.S., these birds nearly went extinct in the second half of the twentieth century. By 1975, only 13 parrots remained. Intense conservation efforts over the past few decades have helped turn that around, but...
Fish and Wildlife Service Conducts Five-Year Reviews of 33 Southeastern Species
March 25, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), is initiating 5-year status reviews of 33 species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The Service will conduct these reviews to ensure the classification of species as threatened or endangered on the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants is accurate. The Service is requesting submission of information that has become available since the last review of each of these species.
DATES: To allow the Service adequate time to conduct these reviews, the Service must receive your comments or information on or before May 27, 2014.
Please see press release and/or Federal Register notice links below for more information about where you can mail, fax or e-mail comments or information.