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ESAblawg is an educational effort by Keith W. Rizzardi. Correspondence with this site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Photos or links may be copyrighted (but used with permission, or as fair use). ESA blawg is published with a Creative Commons License.

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florida gators... never threatened!

If you ain't a Gator, you should be! Alligators (and endangered crocs) are important indicator species atop their food chains, with sensitivity to pollution and pesticides akin to humans. See ESA blawg. Gator blood could be our pharmaceutical future, too. See ESA musing.


Follow the truth.

"This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820.


Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN S. PETTITT helped found this blawg. A D.C.-based IT consultant specializing in Lotus Notes & Domino, he also maintains Lotus Guru blog.

« Humans vs. species? Hunting of tigers prevents delisting, while wind farm striking of Indiana bats necessitates permits | Main| Bulk petitions: breaking the Endangered Species Act, a few hundred species at a time? (Updated) »

FWS lists foreign bird species, but not Utah's Brian Head Mountain Snail

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75 Fed. Reg. 50814 / Vol. 75, No. 158 / Tuesday, August 17, 2010 / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R9–ES–2009–0092; 90100–16601–FLA–B6 / RIN 1018–AV76
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing Three Foreign Bird Species From Latin America and the Caribbean as Endangered Throughout Their Range

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), determine endangered status for three species of birds from Latin America and the Caribbean—the Andean flamingo  (Phoenicoparrus andinus), the Chilean woodstar (Eulidia yarrellii), and the St. Lucia forest thrush (Cichlherminia lherminieri sanctaeluciae)—under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). DATES: This final rule is effective September 16, 2010.

The Andean flamingo’s entire life cycle relies on the  availability of networks of shallow saline wetlands (salars and lagunas) at low, medium, and high altitudes that are characteristic throughout its range in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru.  Photo by Steffen Reichlefrom Exploring Bolivia's Biodiversity.

   Status Determination for the Andean Flamingo.  The Andean flamingo is colonial, feeding and breeding in flocks, and is the rarest of all six flamingo species worldwide. Experts consider that the more dispersed nature of the species at smaller nesting sites has inhibited reproduction in the species. The Andean flamingo underwent a severe population decline in the last few decades, from a conservative estimate of 50,000 to 100,000 in the early 1980s to a current estimate of 34,000. In the past 20 years, nesting sites and breeding has declined with increased habitat alteration (Factor A), overutilization (Factor B), disease and predation (Factor C), as well as increased human disturbance and an ongoing drought (Factor E)... Several manmade and natural factors are having a negative impact on the flamingo’s persistence in the wild. These factors include mining activities and resultant pollution, increasing human population and water usage, hunting and egg collection, tourism, predation, human disturbance, and drought conditions. Mining occurs at many of the wetlands that the Andean flamingo depends upon for habitat. The threats from mining include direct habitat destruction, water pollution, water extraction, and disturbance (Factors A and E). Hunting and egg collecting reduce the number of individuals in the population and exacerbate the species’ poor breeding success and low recruitment rate (Factor B). In combination with these habitat threats, the altiplano region is undergoing a long-term drought, which is impacting the availability and quality of wetlands for feeding, breeding, and overwintering (Factor E). Increased tourism at the wetlands is taxing limited water supplies, causing further water contamination from trash and sewage, and increasing habitat disturbance from human presence (Factors A and B). Infrastructure to support mining and tourism destroys and increases access to Andean flamingo habitats, facilitating hunting, egg collecting, and human influx, along with increased pollution, water use, and disturbance (Factors A, B, and E). Predation removes potentially reproductive adults  from the breeding pool, disrupts mating pairs, and exacerbates the species’ already poor breeding success and is facilitated by increased access to wetlands and the ongoing drought (Factors A, B, and E). Many wetlands within protected areas continue to undergo activities that destroy habitat or remove individuals from the population (including hunting and egg collecting), such that the regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to mitigate the threats to the species and its habitat (Factor D). The magnitude of the threats is exacerbated by the species’ recent and drastic reduction in numbers, poor breeding success and recruitment, and the species’ reliance on only a few wetlands for the majority of its reproductive output.
   Status Determination for the Chilean Woodstar.  The species is currently at risk throughout  all  of its range due to a number of immediate and ongoing threats. The Chilean woodstar is restricted to two river valleys, where there has been extensive modification of its primary habitat. It is threatened by agricultural practices, in particular the use of pesticides and, to  a lesser extent, high-pressure spraying of olive trees to remove mold, as well as competition from the more aggressive Peruvian sheartail. The magnitude of these threats is exacerbated by the species’ restricted range, only one known breeding site, low recruitment rate, and extremely small population size. An insect outbreak causing increased use of toxic pesticides in agricultural fields, a series of catastrophic events, or other detrimental interactions between environmental and demographic factors could result in the rapid extinction of the Chilean woodstar.
   Status Determination for the St. Lucia Forest Thrush.  The subspecies is currently at risk throughout all of its range due to ongoing threats of habitat destruction and modification (Factor A), lack of near- and long-term viability associated with the thrush’s presumed small population size (Factor E), and random, naturally occurring events such as volcanic activity, tropical storms, and hurricanes (Factor E).


75 Fed. Reg. 50739 / Vol. 75, No. 158 / Tuesday, August 17, 2010 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2010-0058 / MO 92210-0-0008
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List Brian Head Mountainsnail as Endangered or Threatened with Critical Habitat

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90–day finding on a petition to list the Brian Head mountainsnail (Oreohelix parawanensis) as endangered or  threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended. Based on our review, we find that the petition does not present substantial information indicating that listing the  species may be warranted. However, we ask the public to submit to us any new  information that becomes available concerning the status of, or threats to, the mountainsnail or its habitat at any time. This information will help us monitor and encourage the conservation of this species. DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on August 17, 2010.

The Brian Head mountainsnail is reported from Iron County, Utah. The species exists as a localized population at a rock slide on the southwest slope of Brian Head Peak, above timberline at approximately 3,350 meters (11,000 feet).  The rock slide is located within a mountain shrub habitat type that is the focus of conservation by the State of Utah.  Photo by Bill Bosworth, available at Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.