Press Release
Draft recovery plan released for endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat
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A draft plan to guide recovery of the San Bernardino kangaroo rat is now available for public review and comment. The endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat is currently found in remnant portions of alluvial fan habitat in the Lytle Creek/Cajon Creek, Santa Ana River, and San Jacinto River in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, California.

The San Bernardino kangaroo rat is a yellowish-brown, burrowing rodent that is a member of the family Heteromyidae and is one of 19 recognized subspecies of Merriam’s kangaroo rat. The animal derives its name from large hind legs and feet that aid the tiny mammal in jumping. It feeds primarily on seeds, green vegetation, and insects.

Much of the historical habitat has been lost or degraded by development; sand and gravel mining; off-road vehicle use; and alterations of natural hydrological processes necessary to maintain its suitability for the kangaroo rat.

The draft recovery plan provides a roadmap to guide conservation of the species, including objectives that will enable it to be reclassified from endangered to threatened, and ultimately to the point where it will no longer need the protection of the Endangered Species Act. 

Actions identified in the draft plan include conservation and management of habitat to support all life stages of the kangaroo rat as well as refugia areas needed during flood events, minimizing recreational impacts to habitat, and conducting rangewide surveys and monitoring to track population trends. 

Comments on the draft recovery plan are welcomed through February 13, 2024. 

The ESA provides a critical safety net for fish, wildlife and plants and has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species, as well as promoted the recovery of many others, and conserved the habitats upon which they depend. 

Since being listed as endangered in 1998, some areas occupied by the species have been conserved through implementation of the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan and the Santa Ana Wash HCP; and the Cajon Creek Conservation Bank established by Vulcan Materials and Wildlands, Inc. Lytle Creek Conservation Bank.

Today, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ESA, hundreds of species are stable or improving thanks to management actions of Tribes, federal agencies, state and local governments, conservation organizations and private citizens. Working with our partners, the Service uses a range of conservation tools to recover threatened and endangered species. Recovery plans are one such tool, providing a roadmap for recovery of listed species in coordination with public and private partners.  

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Endangered and/or Threatened species