Midwest Region Endangered Species Conserving the nature of America

Endangered Species Program


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species program is conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems.




U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service in the Midwest


The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you.


The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Find a location near you »

News Release

Fish and Wildlife Service Celebrates Endangered Species Day
In Ohio, endangered mussels get a boost           



Valerie Fellows 703/358 2285
Angela Boyer (614) 416-8993, ext 22


On May 15, 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will honor Endangered Species Day and the numerous nationwide conservation programs underway aimed at protecting America’s threatened and endangered species.


The Endangered Species Act (ESA), one of the most important environmental laws in history and is credited with saving 99.9 percent of species protected by the ESA from extinction. Co-administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the purpose of the ESA is to conserve imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.


When Congress passed the ESA in 1973, it formally established that our rich natural heritage is of “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.”  It also expressed concern that many of our nation’s native fish, wildlife, and plants were in danger of becoming extinct.


“The Endangered Species Act is the nation’s premier law protecting biodiversity today,” said Acting Fish and Wildlife Service Director Rowan Gould.  “Without this law, we would probably not see bald eagles soaring in our skies or grizzlies in Yellowstone.  Endangered Species Day provides an opportunity to celebrate our shared successes and look forward to a strengthened partnership with the American public to conserve our natural treasures of fish, wildlife, and plants.” 


Freshwater mussels are among the nation’s most imperiled animals.  In Ohio, partners are working to restore populations of the federally endangered northern riffleshell mussel.  In June, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Ohio State University, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, and the Franklin County Metroparks released over 1,700 adult northern riffleshell mussels in Big Darby. This was the largest single release of any federally listed species in the State of Ohio. 


Mussels are considered important indicators of water quality in the rivers and streams that support both human and wildlife communities.  The northern riffleshell inhabits stream areas with sand or gravel substrate and prefers areas with riffles and runs.  Prior to 1800, this species was widespread throughout the Ohio River and Maumee River drainages.  Today, populations have declined dramatically throughout its range due to declining habitat quality.  Because of the rapid population decline and highly isolated populations, augmenting riffleshell numbers is an essential tool in species recovery efforts.


The Service works with other federal agencies, state and tribal governments, environmental organizations, industry groups, species experts, academia, the scientific community, and other members of the public to conserve our Nation’s threatened and endangered fish, wildlife, and plants. 


The bald eagle, grizzly bear, American alligator and gray wolf are all species which once found themselves on the list, facing the brink of extinction but have successfully rebounded.  The wood stork, Kirtland’s warbler, Louisiana black bear and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle are listed species that are showing good progress towards achieving recovery – the ultimate goal of the ESA.  These recovered and recovering species are just a few examples of those benefiting from the protections afforded by the ESA and the dedicated people who work to ensure their continued existence.


There are currently 19 federally endangered and threatened species in Ohio, and three candidate species.  Nationally, there are 1,317 species listed in the U.S.: 746 plants and 571 animals.  To find out more about endangered and threatened species in Ohio and around the country, go to www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.



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