June 30, 2015
Georgia Parham, 812-334-4261 x 1203
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Will Study the Status of Five Midwest Reptile and Amphibian Species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will assess the status of five reptile and amphibian species found in the Midwest to determine whether protection under the Endangered Species Act is warranted. The Service is seeking input as it conducts in-depth studies of the spotted turtle, alligator snapping turtle, Blanding’s turtle, Illinois chorus frog and green salamander.
The Service is initiating status reviews for a total of 20 species of amphibians and reptiles and one plant nationwide in response to petitions from the Center for Biological Diversity.
Spotted turtles are found in shallow wetland habitats in the Great Lakes region, including Illinois, Indiana and Michigan and Ohio, as well as some Atlantic coastal states. The Blanding’s turtle is found in the Northeast and Midwest, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin, and as far west as western Nebraska. The Blanding’s turtle occupies swamps, marshes, ponds and slow-moving streams. Alligator snapping turtles are found in large rivers, lakes, canals, ponds and swamps. The species’ range includes the Southeastern United States northward into Iowa, Illinoi, Indiana and Missouri.
The Illinois chorus frog, found in parts of Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas, lives on sand prairies and in cultivated fields or sandy lowlands near rivers. The green salamander is found in scattered areas from Pennsylvania and Maryland and the Southeast to Ohio and Indiana.
Once the Service has completed its assessment of the species, the agency will determine whether to propose any as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. For each species, the Service may determine that listing is warranted, not warranted, or may determine that listing is warranted but currently precluded due to needs of higher priority species.
The Service is seeking information about these species through August 31, 2015. You may submit information by one of the following methods:
- Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
- In the Search box, enter the Docket Number (listed below) for this action and the appropriate species:
Alligator Snapping Turtle
Illinois Chorus Frog
- You may click on the document title to open the Federal Register notice or you may submit a comment by clicking on the “Comment Now!” button.
U.S. mail or hand-delivery:
Public Comments Processing Attn: Docket No. [Insert appropriate docket number; see table above]
U.S. Fish and Wildlife, MS: BPHC
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041-3803
The Service will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that the Service will post any personal information that is provided.
For more information on reptiles, amphibians and other Midwest species of concern, visit www.fws.gov/midwest/es/soc.