Rye Cove isopod does not warrant federal protection

Press Release
Secluded isopod likely to face few population threats in the near future
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On December 29, 2022, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish a 12-month petition finding that the Rye Cove isopod, an eyeless unpigmented cave invertebrate, does not currently warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The finding will be part of a batched Federal Register notice for eight species. This species is included in a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Clinch Coalition, Dogwood Alliance, Gulf Restoration Network, Tennessee Forests Council, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Tierra Curry, and Noah Greenwald to list 404 aquatic, riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

Learn more about riparian
, and wetland species from the southeastern United States as endangered or threatened species. 

The Service’s review of the best available scientific information indicates the Rye Cove isopod is not at risk of extinction. This isopod is exclusively found within the underground cave streams of the Rye Cove area of southwestern Virginia, a significant karst area (landscape underlain by limestone that has been eroded producing ridges, towers, fissures, sinkholes) with many sinkholes and cave systems throughout.  

Large-scale trends and models predict that the greatest potential threats to this species, incompatible agricultural land use and suburban development, will not expand or intensify in Rye Cove in the near future. Census information reflects an overall decline in the human population of this region and further development will likely be hindered by the terrain and access to Rye Cove. It is also predicted that these cave systems will not experience significant impacts as a result of climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change

Landowners in Rye Cove can help reduce potential land use impacts to the Rye Cove isopod by following the recommendations described in the Species Status Assessment like partnering with local conservation organizations.  

The Service remains committed to ongoing conservation efforts with our partners. If new information becomes available in the future that indicates that the Rye Cove isopod may warrant ESA listing, we will reevaluate the species’ status at that time.  

The document is available for public inspection here: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection   

The final version of the batched notice will be available on December 29, 2022, at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/current, and supporting documents available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=FR.   

The effort to conserve America’s at-risk wildlife and recover listed species is led by the Service and state wildlife agencies in partnership with other government agencies, private landowners, conservation groups, tribes, businesses, utilities and others. The Service has drawn support for its use of incentives and flexibilities within the ESA to protect rare wildlife, reduce regulations and keep working lands working.

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Aquatic animals