Conserving the Nature of America
Service Seeks Public Comment on Post Delisting Monitoring of Brown Pelicans

September 29, 2009


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting public comment on the draft post-delisting monitoring plan of the brown pelican. The agency first proposed removing the remaining protected populations of brown pelicans from the list of threatened and endangered species in February 2008. If the brown pelican is removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it will be monitored for a decade, from 2010 to 2020, under a draft post-delisting monitoring plan released today.
"We are looking for public input on the draft monitoring plan so we can ensure that the best methods will be used to track the pelican population should the species be removed from ESA protection," said Ren Lohoefener, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Southwest Region.

The brown pelican in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and northward along the Atlantic Coast states was removed from the list of endangered species in 1985. The remaining protected populations, totaling more than 620,000 brown pelicans, are found across Florida and the Gulf and Pacific Coast, as well as the Caribbean and Latin America. The brown pelican was first declared endangered in 1970 under the Endangered Species Conservation Act, a precursor to the current ESA.

Once a species is removed from ESA protection, one safeguard to help ensure it continues to thrive is a mandatory monitoring period. The status of the brown pelican will be tracked based on the occupancy of pelican colonies and number of nesting pairs over the 10-year period. If a substantial decline in these colonies is observed, the Service will investigate possible causes.

The Service also has the ability to immediately relist the brown pelican if monitoring or other information shows that it is necessary to prevent a significant risk to the pelican population.

The brown pelican’s recovery is due in large measure to the ban on the pesticide DDT in 1972. The pelican has also benefited from decades of coordinated recovery efforts on the part of state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, and private landowners. Current threats to pelicans and their habitat include hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and El Niño weather patterns. However, brown pelicans have evolved in these environments and can recover from such naturally occurring events.
Comments on the draft plan must be received on or before October 29, 2009, to be considered during the development of the final monitoring plan.

A link to the draft plan will be available online at

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