Water Howellia Flourish Once Again in the Pacific Northwest Thanks to Federal, State and Nongovernmental Recovery Efforts
October 4, 2019
DENVER – An aquatic plant found in freshwater wetlands and ponds across the Pacific Northwest no longer needs protection under the Endangered Species Act thanks to conservation actions taken by federal, state and non-governmental partners. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove the water howellia from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants.
Water howellia is an annual aquatic plant endemic to the Pacific Northwest, found in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The majority of the plants occur in three populations located in Spokane and Pierce counties in Washington, and Lake and Missoula counties in Montana. Approximately 84 percent of the plants are found on Federal lands.
After an extensive review of the best available science, the Service concludes threats to the water howellia are being managed adequately and have not occurred to the extent anticipated, while additional occurrences of the plant have been discovered in all five states since the species’ listing in 1994. This, along with land management plans adopted by federal and state agencies to strategically conserve the species and its habitat, led the Service to conclude the water howellia is unlikely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.
The Service will continue to work closely with partners to maintain the recovered status of water howellia. Partners include the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Idaho Natural Heritage, Idaho Fish and Game, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Montana Natural Heritage, Washington Department of Natural Resources, and Metro, the Oregon regional government.
To ensure the plant is protected well into the future, the Service developed a draft five-year post-delisting monitoring plan that outlines what steps will be taken to monitor the species in the years following delisting.
The proposed rule will publish in the Federal Register on October 7, 2019. The Service will accept comments regarding the proposal and the post-delisting monitoring plan for 60-days after publication. Interested parties can submit comments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. In the search box, enter docket number FWS–R6–ES–2018–0045, and then click on the “Comment Now!” button.
Comments will also be accepted via U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–R6–ES–2018–0045 U.S. Fish and Wildlife, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803. Please note that submissions merely supporting or opposing a potential delisting, without supporting documentation, will not be considered in making a determination.
The Service will post all comments received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that the agency will post any personal information the public provides. Learn more about the water howellia at: https://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/articles.cfm?id=149489516.
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 our website, or connect connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and Instagram.
– FWS –