Conserving the Nature of America
Bulletin
Service Completes Initial Reviews on Petitions to List Three Species
Lake sturgeon and Gila topminnow to undergo rigorous status reviews. Federal protections not warranted for Siskiyou Mountains salamander.

August 14, 2019

Contact(s):

Ivan Vicente, Ivan_Vicente@fws.gov, 703-358-1730    



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed initial reviews of Endangered Species Act (ESA) petitions for three species: the Gila topminnow, lake sturgeon and Siskiyou Mountains salamander. The Service has concluded that there is substantial information to consider downlisting the Gila topminnow from endangered to threatened and listing the lake sturgeon as threatened or endangered.

The Service will begin in-depth scientific reviews to determine if the Gila topminnow should be downlisted and if the lake sturgeon should be listed under the ESA. The petition for the Siskiyou Mountains salamander did not present substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted, and as such no additional action will be taken.

The lake sturgeon is a temperate fish that occurs in freshwater systems of North America from the Hudson Bay through the Mississippi River drainages. Although the lake sturgeon was historically abundant, with populations estimated in the millions in each of the Great Lakes, its decline in recent decades has been rapid. The Service finds the petition to list the lake sturgeon presented substantial information based on potential threats associated with dams and hydroelectric facilities, dredging and channelization, contaminants and habitat fragmentation and impacts from invasive species.

The Gila topminnow is a small, silvery, guppy-like fish. The species’ historical range includes Arizona and New Mexico. The Service finds that the petition to downlist the Gila topminnow from endangered to threatened presented substantial information based on significant reduction of threats. 

The Siskiyou Mountains salamander is a terrestrial, medium-sized, slender-bodied salamander with short limbs and a dorsal stripe. This species is endemic to the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains of southern Oregon and northern California. Although the Siskiyou Mountains salamander occurs within very limited areas, the Service found adequate and protected habitats exist for this species. Additionally, the petition did not provide substantial information that identified threats may warrant listing. 

The ESA allows citizens to petition the Service to add or remove species from the ESA, and to reclassify species already listed. Petitioning the Service to downlist the Gila topminnow was the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Service to list the lake sturgeon under the ESA. Petitioning the Service to list the Siskiyou Mountains salamander under the ESA were Environmental Policy Innovation Center, Cascadia Wildlands, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Center for Biological Diversity.

The Federal Register docket numbers and links for the substantial petition findings in this batch are:

 

Species

Range

Docket Number

Docket link

Lake sturgeon

AL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, NE, NY, ND, OH, PA, TN, VT, WI

FWS–R3–ES–2018–0110

https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FWS-R3-ES-2018-0110

Gila topminnow

AZ, NM

FWS–R2–ES–2018–0109

https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FWS-R2-ES-2018-0109

 

The Federal Register docket numbers and links for the not-substantial petition findings in this batch are:

 

Species

Range

Docket Number

Docket link

Siskiyou Mountains salamander

CA, OR

FWS–R8–ES–2018–0111

https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FWS-R8-ES-2018-0111

 

The notice for the above findings will be available in the Federal Register Reading Room on August 14, 2019 at https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection on the 2019 Notices link under Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

For more information on the ESA listing process, including 90-day findings and status reviews, please go to www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf.


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