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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.

« NOAA enacts take prohibition rule for green sturgeon | Main| FWS will not list white tail prairie dog as endangered or threatened, says colonies remain resilient despite threats »

FWS considering listing Ozark chinquapin due, in part, to chestnut blight; and rejects petition to delist Sacramento Mountains thistle

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75 Fed. Reg. 30313 / Vol. 75, No. 104 / Tuesday, June 1, 2010 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2009-0020 / MO 92210-0-0008-B2
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Castanea pumila var. ozarkensis
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90–day finding on a petition to list Castanea pumila var. ozarkensis (Ozark chinquapin), a tree, as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 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 status review of the species to determine if listing Castanea pumila var. ozarkensis is warranted. To ensure that the review is comprehensive, we are requesting scientific and commercial data and other information regarding this species. 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.

Castanea pumila var. ozarkensis was historically a medium-sized tree species that once grew to 20 meters (m) (65 feet (ft)), although usually much shorter, but now rarely reaches heights of more than 9m (30 ft). Trunks develop from stump sprouts as well as from seeds, but in recent years, new growth is generally from sprouts. The chestnut blight has disrupted the life cycle of Castanea pumila var. ozarkensis by reducing the sexual reproduction to isolated areas, forcing the species to survive mainly by asexual reproduction. The blight has threatened the reproductive status and may threaten the genetic diversity of extant populations. The photo above shows an Ozark chinquapin covered with flowers (from Robert Barnes, published at


75 Fed. Reg. 30757 / Vol. 75, No. 105 / Wednesday, June 2, 2010 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2008-0114 / 92220-1113-0000; ABC Code: C5
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition to Delist Cirsium vinaceum (Sacramento Mountains thistle)

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a 12–month finding on a petition to remove Cirsium vinaceum (Sacramento Mountains thistle) from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Plants under the Endangered Species Act. After reviewing the best scientific and commercial information available, we find that delisting C. vinaceum is not warranted. However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of, or threats to, the species or its habitats at any time. This information will help us monitor and encourage the conservation of this species.

Cirsium vinaceum is an obligate wetland species that requires saturated soils with surface or subsurface water flow. Cirsium vinaceum habitats occur in mixed conifer forests and open valleys.  Cirsium vinaceum is a short-lived perennial. It lives as a rosette (a circular arrangement of leaves close to the ground) for one or more years, and eventually a stem bolts upward producing flower and seed. Flowering, the vehicle for reproduction, occurs only once, from late June through August, when pinkpurple flower heads form at the tips of stems. Seeds are usually produced through cross-pollination, a form of sexual reproduction requiring genes from 2 or more separate Cirsium vinaceum individuals;  however, this species is capable of reproducing asexually, using genetic material from a single individual to produce a clone. Pollen is carried by a variety of animal vectors, including several species of native bees, flies, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

EXCERPT: We found natural loss of water, trampling by livestock, predation by livestock and insects, and the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms to be significant threats to C. vinaceum. We found lack of ensured water availability, increased water diversion, and the spread of insect predators by exotic weeds may threaten C. vinaceum in the foreseeable future. We also considered the ways in which the effects of climate change are likely to exacerbate the impacts caused by the above factors in the foreseeable future. As a wetland obligate species, Cirsium vinaceum occurs exclusively at springs, seeps, and drainage areas that are often widely dispersed and collectively comprise the significant portions of .
vinaceum’s range. Recent declines in reproducing C. vinaceum numbers and population sites, combined with the lack of ensured water availability, harmful levels of herbivory and trampling from noncompliant grazing practices, predation by insects, and the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, lead us to conclude that C. vinaceum should retain its current listing status as a threatened species.