HONOLULU — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published a draft recovery plan for 23 endangered or threatened species in the Mariana Islands. All 23 species are currently protected under the Endangered Species Act and face threats of urban development, habitat loss, competition and predation from , drought, fire, and effects of , and naturally occurring events like hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tsunamis. This draft recovery plan addresses the threats these species face and the proposed plans to help them towards recovery. This draft recovery plan will be open for a 90-day public comment period.
Recovery plans allow the Service and partners to strategize the best course of actions to prevent the extinction of species and support their recovery. This plan addresses 14 endangered and threatened plants, one endangered mammal, one endangered reptile, and seven endangered invertebrates. These species were listed under the Endangered Species Act on October 1, 2015.
Many of the plant species listed in the recovery plan are found in low numbers and in rapid decline. All the plants, with the exception of Cycas micronesica, are endemic to the Mariana Islands, with five being found only on Guam. The nine animal species are endemic to the Mariana Islands, with the dulalas Luta or dulalas Luuta (Rota blue damselfly) known only from Rota, Langford’s tree snail known only from Aguiguan, and Guam tree snail known only from Guam.
The 23 species are threatened by habitat loss and degradation from development, typhoons, invasive animals, invasive plants, pesticide use, and climate change. The Mariana Islands occur in the world’s most active typhoon basin. Typhoon winds can defoliate and uproot trees. Since it can take years of a forests to recover, they are more susceptible to encroachment from invasive trees, shrubs, and vines. Invasive animals such as ungulates, brown treesnakes, rodents, and ants, compete, predate, and destabilize the habitat that these plants and animals need to survive.
The overall recovery strategy for all 23 species will require assessment of populations and their habitat, selection of sites for long-term conservation, control of threats, development of regulatory protections, species-specific research, and augmentation and reintroduction to maximize the species’ chances of success. The conservation measures recommended include genetic storage, controlling threats in the immediate vicinity of individual plants, along with expansion and reintroduction, with the goal of protecting and creating small populations of each species. Several species will also need protection from species-specific threats including military ordnance, vandalism, recreational vehicles, introduction of disease, and limited numbers.
The public comment period will be available for 90 days. An electronic copy of the draft recovery plan is at: https://ecos.fws.gov/docs/recovery_plan/SIGNED%20-%20Mariana%20Islands%20dRP%20(20221108).pdf
To request additional information or submit written comments, please contact the field supervisor.
You may submit written comments and materials to field supervisor.
- Attention: 23 Mariana Island Species Draft Recovery Plan, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3122, Honolulu, HI 96850.
- You may send comments by email to email@example.com. Please include “23 Mariana Island Species Draft Recovery Plan” in the subject line.
In order to be considered, comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or before February 8, 2023. All comments and materials received will become part of the public record associated with this action. The Service will accept comments received or postmarked on or before February 8, 2023.
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/pacificislands, or connect with us through any of these social media channels at https://www.facebook.com/PacificIslandsFWS, www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/, www.tumblr.com/blog/usfwspacific or www.twitter.com/USFWSPacific.