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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.

« Federal courts publish recent opinions on Mexican spotted owls and grizzly bears | Main| FWS proposes revised critical habitat for Lane Mountain milk-vetch »

Noting funding limits, FWS says threatened listing warranted but precluded for Tucson shovel-nosed snake; also extends comment on Casey's June Beetle

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75 Fed. Reg. 16050 / Vol. 75, No. 61 / Wednesday, March 31, 2010 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2009-0070 / MO 92210-0-0008-B2
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Tucson Shovel-Nosed Snake (Chionactis occipitalis klauberi) as Threatened or Endangered with Critical Habitat
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of 12–month petition finding.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12–month finding on a petition to list the Tucson shovel-nosed snake (Chionactis occipitalis klauberi) as threatened or endangered with critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After review of the best scientific and commercial information available, we find that listing the Tucson shovelnosed snake as threatened or endangered throughout its range is warranted. Currently, however, listing the Tucson shovel-nosed snake is precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Upon publication of this 12–month petition finding, we will add the Tucson shovelnosed snake to our candidate species list. We will develop a proposed rule to list the Tucson shovel-nosed snake as our priorities allow. We will make any determination on critical habitat during development of the proposed rule. DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on March 31, 2010.

TucsonShovelNosed.jpg
FWS elected not to list the Tucson shovel-nosed snake, even though it found that the subspecies faces imminent and high magnitude threats from the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat and the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. It appears that the snake only travels short distances, which makes the subspecies particularly susceptible to habitat fragmentation, as barriers created by development, roads, solar facilities, and wildfires isolate populations from one another. These threats are on-going and, in some cases (especially loss of habitat through urban development), considered irreversible, and there are indications that in the Avra Valley, where the snake was once present, it has now disappeared or persists in such low numbers that it is difficult to locate. However, in other areas (e.g., Florence Military Reservation), the snake appears to be persisting. Photo from USGS, caption info from FWS.

KEITHINKING: To help explain the warranted but precluded decision, the announcement also includes TABLE 1, entitled "Actions Taken By The Listing Program Of The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service From The Beginning Of Fy2010 To Date."  In the discussion, FWS explains that it has made substantial progress in addressing listing needs, but still only has $11 million authorized by Congress for listing of species: "In FY 2010, expeditious progress is that amount of work that can be achieved with $10,471,000, which is the amount of money that Congress appropriated for the Listing Program (that is, the portion of the Listing Program funding not related to critical habitat designations for species that are already listed). However these funds are not enough to fully fund all our courtordered and statutory listing actions in FY 2010, so we are using $1,114,417 of our critical habitat subcap funds in order to work on all of our required petition findings and listing determinations. This brings the total amount of funds we have for listing action in FY 2010 to $11,585,417."  Like it or not, the funding limitations beg a very important question: why bother with all the litigation?  Third parties can bring all the citizen suits they want, but unlike the old Doritos campaign, "Crush (FWS) all you want, they can't make more (money)."  Then again, groups like CBD would argue that eventually, Congress will fund the effort, and they want the species on the "eventually" list...

LINKS: See Center for Biological Diversity press release, and other links from FWS and Arizona Game and Fish.

P.S.  Specialized blogs really are better than mainstream media.  Check out this heading from CBS affiliated KOLD, getting the story completely wrong: "Shovel-nosed snake now protected by Endangered Species Act."

***

75 Fed. Reg. 16046 / Vol. 75, No. 61 / Wednesday, March 31, 2010 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0019 / MO 92210-0-0008 B2 / RIN 1018-AV91
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing Casey’s June Beetle as Endangered and Designation of Critical Habitat
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period, notice of availability of draft economic analysis, and amended required determinations.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the comment period on our July 9, 2009, proposed listing and critical habitat designation for Casey’s June beetle (Dinacoma caseyi) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We also announce the availability of the 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 listing and critical habitat designation, the 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. DATES: We will consider comments that we receive on or before April 30, 2010.

LINKS: See prior ESA blawg, and prior Federal Register announcement.