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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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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.

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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.

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FWS proposes to list shovelnose sturgeon in effort to protect pallid sturgeon, reopens comment period on Oregon Chub critical habitat

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74 Fed. Reg. 48215 / Vol. 74, No. 182 / Tuesday, September 22, 2009 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Rule To List the Shovelnose Sturgeon as Threatened Due to Similarity of Appearance
ACTION: Proposed rule.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or USFWS), propose to treat the shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) as threatened under the ‘‘Similarity of Appearance’’ provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) and the endangered pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) are difficult to differentiate in the wild and inhabit overlapping portions of the Missouri and Mississippi River basins. (See FWS info sheet.) Four States where the two species commonly coexist allow for commercial fishing of shovelnose sturgeon which is in demand for its roe (eggs sold as caviar). The close resemblance in appearance between the two species creates substantial difficulty for fishermen, State regulators, and law enforcement personnel in differentiating between shovelnose and pallid sturgeon, both whole specimens and parts (including flesh and roe). This similarity of appearance has resulted in the documented take of pallid sturgeon and is a threat to the species. The determination that the shovelnose sturgeon should be treated as threatened due to similarity of appearance will substantially facilitate law enforcement actions to protect and conserve pallid sturgeon. We also propose a special rule to define activities that would and would not constitute take of shovelnose sturgeon under section 9 of the Act.

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The pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) is a critically endangered species native to the Missouri and lower Mississippi River drainages.  Throughout their entire range, pallid sturgeons co-occur with shovelnose sturgeon (S. platorynchus) a species that is morphologically very similar and far more numerous.  In the picture on the right the top fish is a shovelnose sturgeon and the bottom fish is a pallid sturgeon.  While pallid sturgeon is federally protected, shovelnose sturgeon is commercially and recreationally harvested in several states including Illinois.  Caption info and photo from Southern Illinois University Zoology Department.

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74 Fed. Reg. 48211 / Vol. 74, No. 182 / Tuesday, September 22, 2009 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Oregon Chub
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period, availability of draft economic analysis, amendment of required determinations, and announcement of public hearing.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the comment period on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).  We also announce the availability of a draft economic analysis (DEA) and an amended required determinations section of the proposal. We are reopening the comment period for an additional 30 days to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment simultaneously on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the Oregon chub, the associated DEA, and the amended required determinations section. If you submitted comments previously, you do not need to resubmit them because we have already incorporated them into the public record and will fully consider them in preparation of the final rule. We also announce a public hearing; the public is invited to review and comment on any of the above actions associated with the proposed critical habitat designation at the public hearing or in writing.