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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.

« FWS declines to list four distinct Bison population segments, and federal judge rejects lawsuit seeking to enjoin culling of diseased bison | Main| FWS not listing Unsilvered Fritillary Butterfly, but may list Sand Verbena Moth »

ESA good news: NOAA says no need to list Alabama shad, and improving estuary science for salmonid species

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76 Fed. Reg. 9320 (Thursday, February 17, 2011) / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Docket No. 100603239–0275–02 / RIN 0648–XW85
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Alabama Shad as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding.

SUMMARY: We (NMFS) announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list Alabama shad (Alosa alabamae) as threatened or endangered and designate critical habitat under the ESA. We find that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted.

The Alabama shad is a euryhaline, anadromous species that spawns in medium to large flowing rivers from the Mississippi River drainage to the Suwannee River, Florida. The largest remaining population probably occurs in the Apalachicola River, Florida, downstream of the Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam.  While little is known of the Alabama shad’s thermal tolerance, alosids in general are notoriously sensitive to thermal stress. Photo from Outdoor Alabama.

EXCERPT: The resilience of Alabama shad and the species’ ability to respond positively to conservation efforts is evident in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River System. Beginning in 2005, a cooperative study supported by multiple local, academic, State, and Federal conservation partners, including NMFS, started tracking Alabama shad and other fish species in the Apalachicola River (USFWS, 2008; TNC, 2010; Ely et al., 2008). The study also evaluated the feasibility of passing fish upriver of the Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam (JWLD), located at the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers, which presents the first major impediment on the Apalachicola River to the upstream migration of Alabama shad to their historical spawning grounds. The results of this collaborative study showed that the existing lock could be used to pass fish upriver where they could potentially reproduce in great numbers. Based on these findings, in 2008, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began operating the lock at JWLD to allow fish passage. The locks are operated twice a day to correspond with the natural movement patterns of migrating fish during spawning seasons—February through May each year. Alabama shad have been found to pass upstream of the lock with 45 percent efficiency (Young, 2010) and, as a result, can access over 150 miles of historical habitat and spawning areas in the ACF River System for the first time in more than 50 years (TNC, 2010). The current 2010 population estimate for the ACF River System of 98,469 Alabama shad obtained as a result of this study (Young, 2010) is almost four times larger than the previous high estimate of 25,935 obtained in 2005 (Ely et al., 2008). Since age-2 adults are the most prevalent age class of spawning adults, the large increase in the Alabama shad population in the Apalachicola in 2010 is likely a direct result of JWLD being operated for fish passage beginning in 2008.

KEITHINKING: Woo-hoo! An ESA story with good news.


76 Fed. Reg. 8345 (Monday, February 14, 2011) / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
RIN 0648–XA130
Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan Module for Columbia River Estuary Salmon and Steelhead
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of availability; recovery plan module for Columbia River estuary salmon and steelhead.

SUMMARY: NMFS announces the adoption of the Columbia River Estuary Endangered Species Act (ESA) Recovery Plan Module for Salmon and Steelhead (Estuary Module). The Estuary Module addresses the estuary recovery needs of all ESA-listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin. All Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead ESA recovery plans will incorporate the Estuary Module by reference.

EXCERPT:  While local recovery planners appropriately focus on the tributary conditions within their jurisdictions and domains, NMFS recognized the need for consistent treatment of the factors in the estuary that affect all of the listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin. The Estuary Module addresses limiting factors, threats, and needed actions in the Columbia River estuary for the 13 ESUs and DPSs of salmon and steelhead listed in the basin. Each locally developed recovery plan will incorporate by reference the Estuary Module as its estuary component. This approach will ensure consistent treatment across locally developed recovery plans of the effects of the Columbia River estuary as well as a system-wide approach to evaluating and implementing estuary recovery actions…  
Conclusion.  The Estuary Module contributes to all the Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead recovery plans by analyzing limiting factors and threats related to survival of listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River estuary, identifying site-specific management actions related to those limiting factors and threats, and estimating the cost and time to implement those actions. NMFS will incorporate the Estuary Module by reference into all Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead recovery plans. We conclude that the Estuary Module provides information that helps to meet the requirements for recovery plans
under ESA section 4(f), and adopt it as a component of Columbia.

KEITHINKING: Two good news stories in a row? Is that a trend?