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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.

« In response to petition, FWS considering listing of Oklahoma grass pink orchid | Main| FWS will not delist the Stephen's Kangaroo Rat »

FWS removes listed status of Utah valvata snail in light of new data showing species abundance

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75 Fed. Reg. 52272 / Vol. 75, No. 164 / Wednesday, August 25, 2010 / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2008–0084; 92220–1113–0000–C6 / RIN 1018–AW16
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Utah (Desert) Valvata Snail From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife

SUMMARY: Under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are removing the Utah (desert) valvata snail (Valvata utahensis) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List). Based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial data, we determined that the Utah valvata snail is more widespread and occurs in a greater variety of habitats in the Snake River than known at the time of listing in 1992. We now know the Utah valvata snail is not limited to areas of cold-water springs or spring outflows; rather, it persists in a variety of aquatic habitats, including cold-water springs,  spring creeks and tributaries, the mainstem Snake River and associated  tributary stream habitats, and reservoirs influenced by dam operations. Given our current understanding of the species’ habitat requirements and threats, the species does not meet the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the Act. Therefore, we are removing the Utah valvata snail from the List, thereby removing all protections provided by the Act.

EXCERPT: As required by the Act, we considered potential threat factors to assess whether the Utah valvata snail is endangered or threatened throughout its range. Information collected since the species’ listing in 1992 indicates that the Utah valvata snail is widely distributed and occurs in a variety of ecological settings over a 255-mile range of the Snake River. Much of the Snake River within the range of the Utah valvata is influenced by seasonal dam operations for hydroelectric or agricultural purposes, yet the species persists in these varied mainstem Snake River systems, including impounded reservoir habitats (e.g., Lake Walcott and American Falls reservoirs). None of the  threats that we identified in the 1992 listing determination appear to be significant to the species (individually or in combination) in light of our current understanding of its distribution and life history; nor have we identified  any significant new threats to the species. Therefore, we find that the Utah valvata snail is not in danger of extinction throughout its range, nor is it likely to become so in the foreseeable future. The Service has determined that the original data for classification of the Utah valvata snail used in 1992 were in error. However, it is important to note that the original data for classification constituted the best scientific and commercial data  available at the time and were in error only in the sense that they were incomplete when viewed in context of the data now available.