Threatened and Endangered Species Program
Since life began, species have come and gone. While extinctions
do occur naturally, scientific evidence suggests that the current rate
of extinction is much higher than the natural rate. Biologists estimate
that since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, more than 5000
species, subspecies and varieties of our Nation's plants and animals have
Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, The U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service has the primary responsibility to coordinate the
conservation of those plants and animals that are threatened with extinction
and the ecosystems that support them. This is accomplished through:
The Chesapeake Bay Field Office is responsible for protecting
threatened and endangered species that occur in Maryland, Delaware, District
of Columbia and portions of Virginia.
Why should we save endangered species? All living creatures,
including people, are part of a complex balanced network called the biosphere.
The removal of a single species from the biosphere can set off chain reactions
that affect other species. By saving endangered species we preserve the
natural diversity of life on earth. Endangered and threatened species
may also provide the chemical compounds necessary for new medicines, biological
controls for agricultural pests and new food sources and act as environmental
barometers alerting us to problems affecting wildlife, air, soil or water.