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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.

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"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.

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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.

« Merger of fisheries agency into Interior Department is no joke | Main| »

FWS may list spot tailed earless lizard, and revises critical habitat for Lane Mountain milk vetch

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76 Fed. Reg. 30082 (Tuesday, May 24, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R2–ES–2011–0017 / MO 92210–0–0008B2
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Spot-Tailed Earless Lizard as Endangered or Threatened
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of petition finding and initiation of status review.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list the spot-tailed earless lizard (Holbrookia lacerata) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), and to designate critical habitat. Based on our review, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing this species may be warranted.  Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we are initiating a review of the status of the species to determine if listing the spot-tailed earless lizard is warranted. To ensure that this status review is comprehensive, we are requesting scientific and commercial data and other information regarding the spot-tailed earless lizard, including its two subspecies (Holbrookia lacerata lacerata and Holbrookia lacerata subcaudalis). Based on the status review, we will issue a 12-month finding on the petition, which will address whether the petitioned action is warranted, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act.

spottailedearlesslizard.jpg
The spot-tailed earless lizard is found in a variety of habitats, but typically they use habitat with sparse vegetation or bare ground (Axtell 1968, p. 56.1). Spot-tailed earless lizards inhabit flat and open prairies or meadows, sand dunes, chaparral-shrubland, mixed woodland areas, and graded roads in Texas (Axtell 1968, p. 56.1; TPWD 2005b, p. 1093), as well as the desert habitats of northern Mexico (Axtell 1968, p. 56.1). The lizard tends to burrow in soil, fallen logs, and other ground debris, and avoid obstructions, such as waterways, buildings, and pavement (Axtell 1968, p. 56.1).  In a petition dated January 13, 2010, Wild Earth Guardians requested that the spot-tailed earless lizard be listed as threatened or endangered and that critical habitat be designated under the Endangered Species Act. There is substantial information on the adverse effects of fire ants on native fauna in general, including reptiles, and substantial information that fire ants may pose a threat to the spot-tailed earless lizard through direct predation on adults, hatchlings, and eggs. In addition, there is substantial information that fire ants occur across a large part of the spottailed earless lizard’s range. Therefore, FWS found that the information provided in the petition, along with information readily available in FWS files, has presented substantial information indicating that the species may warrant listing due to predation, primarily by the fire ant. Image from WildEarth Guardians.

***

76 Fed. Reg. 29108 (Thursday, May 19, 2011) / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17  / Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2009–0078; MO 99210–0–0009 / RIN 1018–AW53
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for Astragalus Jaegerianus (Lane Mountain Milk-Vetch)
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are designating revised critical habitat for Astragalus jaegerianus (Lane Mountain milk-vetch) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In total, approximately 14,069 acres (ac) (5,693 hectares (ha)) of land in 2 units located in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, California, fall within the boundaries of the revised critical habitat designation.