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Agave eggersiana flower. Photo by Christian Torres, USFWS.

Service evaluates two Virgin Islands plants warrant Endangered Species Act protection

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the initiation of a status review for two Virgin Islands plants, Agave eggersiana (no common name) and Solanum conocarpum (marrón bacora). With this notice, the Service is soliciting information regarding the status of, and any potential threats to these plant species.

Today’s announcement is in response to a court-approved settlement agreement after the Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint challenging the 12-month finding for both species. On March 7, 2006, the Service published a 12-month finding concluding that listing these plants was not warranted because it did not have sufficient information to determine the true status of either species in the wild and could not determine if either species met the definition of threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) due to one or more of the five listing factors.

When making a 12-month finding, the Service uses the best scientific and commercial data available to determine if listing the species under the Act is: (a) not warranted, (b) warranted, or © warranted but precluded by other pending proposals. As stipulated in the court-approved settlement agreement, the Service will submit to the Federal Register a new 12-month finding for A. eggersiana by September 17, 2010, and a new 12-month finding for marrón bacora by February 15, 2011.

The information the Service gathers and receives from the public and scientific community during this status review will be used to determine whether the species warrant protection as threatened or endangered. The Service encourages citizens to participate.

The Service is particularly looking for information on:

  1. habitat requirements
  2. genetics and taxonomy
  3. historical and current range including distribution patterns
  4. historical and current population levels, and current and projected trends, and (e) past and ongoing conservation measures for the species and/or its habitat.

The factors that are the basis for making a listing determination

  1. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species habitat or range;
  2. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
  3. Disease or predation;
  4. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
  5. Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

Propagation and planting efforts conducted for these species in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Any new information and materials concerning these species may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWSDocket No. FWS-R4-ES-2009-0090); Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.

To allow the Service adequate time to conduct this review, please submit the information on or before February 19, 2010.

Agave eggersiana is a robust, perennial herb that can grow from 16 to 23 feet tall. Its flowers are large and funnel or tubular shaped. This species is native to the of St. Croix of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Marrón bacora is a thornless flowering shrub which may reach more than 9 feet in height. This species is native to the of St. John of the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are 200 known individuals of marrón bacora in the wild, and most are within the Virgin Islands National Park (VINP).

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Visit the Service’s web site at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/

Contact

Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220
Website: https://www.fws.gov/external-affairs/public-affairs/

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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