U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Determines Goose Creek Milkvetch Does Not Warrant Protection under the Endangered Species Act
For Immediate Release
October 7, 2015
DENVER - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that the Goose Creek milkvetch (Astragalus anserinus), a rare perennial forb found only in the Goose Creek drainage in Utah, Idaho and Nevada, is stable and no longer warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
In 2009, the Service designated Goose Creek milkvetch a candidate species under the ESA because of the risk of wildfire, fire management activities, competition from invasive plants, livestock use and a lack of regulatory protections, among other factors. The “candidate” designation meant that protection under ESA was warranted but precluded by higher priorities.
New scientific information analyzed by the Service this year indicates the population of Goose Creek milkvetch is stable, resilient and is occupying its historic range despite wildfires, the presence of invasive plant competitors and human activities such as Off-Highway Vehicle use. The new analysis indicates impacts from these activities are not as significant as previously determined and, therefore, are no longer threatening the species.
However, leafy spurge, an invasive species, remains a potential future threat to Goose Creek milkvetch based upon its anticipated spread in the habitat. To insure that the plant is protected, a long-term conservation agreement between the Bureau of Land Management and the Service was implemented in 2015. The agreement will protect 93 percent of the total known Goose Creek milkvetch habitat.As the species no longer faces any significant threats and the potential future threat of leafy spurge is adequately addressed by the 2015 conservation agreement with the BLM, the Service determined that Goose Creek milkvetch no longer meets the criteria for endangered species protection and it has been removed from the candidate species list.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels:Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube.
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