Monday, August 24, 2009

U.S. Endangered Species List May Get Additions

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that it would move forward on a review of 29 plant and animal species and assess their inclusion on the federal endangered species list. This is real news considering the lack of considerations for adding any species during the last eight years.

On the other side of this issue, the service recently rejected petitions for nine species. Those critical of the decisions say that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is following a Bush-era approach of denying protections to species which has its basis in incomplete and selective interpretation of the science.

The possible additions represent twenty plant, six snail, two insect and one fish species.

The 20 plants that will undergo status review are: Yellowstone sand verbena, Ross' bentgrass, Hamilton's milkvetch, Isely milkvetch, skiff milkvetch, precocious milkvetch, Cisco milkvetch, Schmoll's milkvetch, Fremont County rockcress, boat-shaped bugseed, Pipe Springs cryptantha, Weber whitlowgrass, Brandegee's wild buckwheat, Frisco buckwheat, Ostler's peppergrass, Lesquerella navajoensis (a bladderpod), Flowers penstemon, Gibben's beardtongue, pale blue-eyed grass and Frisco clover.

The fish is the northern leatherside chub.

The two insects are the Platte River caddisfly and mist forestfly (or meltwater lednian stonefly).

The six snails are the frigid ambersnail, Bearmouth mountainsnail, Byrne Resort mountainsnail, longitudinal gland pyrg, Hamlin Valley pyrg and sub-globose snake pyrg.

The Service received petitions seeking to protect 206 species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that 29 may warrant Federal protection.

Now, they must undertake a more thorough review of these species to determine whether to propose adding them to the Federal list of threatened and endangered wildlife and plants.

Though the 38 species addressed in this recent finding are not found in New Jersey, residents should take note of the results of the findings as an indication of the direction the Service may take in the future.