Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Endangered Species Waiting List

The greater sage-grouse was recently deemed to be "warranted but precluded" by the U.S. Department of the Interior for inclusion on the Endangered Species List. Though it "warrants" protection under the Endangered Species Act, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, the greater sage-grouse will not be added to the list at this time.

Nearly, 300 other species that have also been "precluded." This "waiting list" holds species while other priority species are considered. Luckily, preclusion does not prevent protection. Once labeled "warranted but precluded," it enters a 12-month review cycle that continues until its status is upgraded to inclusion on the endangered species list, or is ruled to no longer be "warranted."

Some environmentalists point to these types of cases as an illustration of the dangers of reactive conservation methods.

The sage-grouse has lost 50% of its rangeland and suffered a 90 percent reduction in its population since the 19th century. Conservationists predict the extirpation of many local populations within 50 or 100 years, which would leave the remaining population so fragmented that it would be vulnerable to complete extinction.

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