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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

September 25, 1998

Hans Stuart 505-248-6911
Charlie McDonald 505-346-2525




The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today withdrew a proposal to designate Parish's alkali grass (Puccinellia parishii) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Parish's alkali grass is a small annual plant found near desert springs in California, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. When proposed as endangered in 1994, biologists believed the species to be threatened by alteration and drying of desert springs, the impact of livestock, and chance loss of populations due to their small size.

"Since we published the proposal to list the species, biologists have found Parish's alkali grass at 21 new sites, increasing the known sites to 30 and extending the species' range," said Nancy Kaufman, regional director of the Service’s Southwestern Region. "Also, the locality and condition of some new sites indicate that more habitat for the species exists than previously thought."

In addition, Kaufman said, effects to the species from livestock around springs may not be detrimental. Federal agencies are now conducting research on this issue.

The decision was published in today’s Federal Register. The Service will continue to study the distribution, abundance, and habitat needs of Parish’s alkali grass. The species could be proposed as threatened or endangered in the future if new data show such designation is appropriate.

Comments on the Service’s decision and any additional information about Parish's alkali grass should be sent to the Field Supervisor, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2105 Osuna Road, NE, Albuquerque NM 87113.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.

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