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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.

« Feds admit rule in error, but Court denies request to vacate the rule | Main| FWS announces comment opportunity on revised Northern Spotted Owl recovery plan »

FWS notices on midwestern species, including warranted but precluded finding on Sprague's Pipit

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75 Fed. Reg. 56028 / Vol. 75, No. 178 / Wednesday, September 15, 2010 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R6–ES–2009–0081 / MO 92210-0-0008
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List Sprague’s Pipit as Endangered or Threatened Throughout Its Range
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12–month finding on a petition to list the Sprague’s pipit (Anthus spragueii) as endangered or threatened and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). After review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the Sprague’s pipit as endangered or threatened is warranted. However, listing the Sprague’s pipit is currently 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 Sprague’s pipit to our candidate species list. We will develop a proposed rule to list Sprague’s pipit as our priorities allow. We will make any determination on critical habitat during development of the proposed listing rule. In the interim period, we will address the status of the candidate taxon through our annual Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR). DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on September 15, 2010.

The Sprague’s pipit is a small passerine, first described by Audubon in 1844, and one of the few bird species endemic to the North American prairie.  Due to its cryptic coloring and secretive nature, the Sprague’s pipit has been described as "one of the least known birds in North America." Photo by Bob Gress available at FWS.

EXCERPT: Given the current and anticipated decline in suitable habitat on both the breeding and wintering grounds, the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms to protect remaining habitat, and the long-term, ongoing population decline, we find that listing the Sprague’s pipit throughout its range (United States, Canada, and Mexico) is warranted. This status review identified threats to the Sprague’s pipit attributable to Factors A and D. The primary threat to the species is from habitat conversion and fragmentation (Factor A), especially due to native prairie conversion to other uses and fragmentation from energy (oil, gas, and wind) development...  

KEITHINKING: Although the listed was warranted, FWS here took the extra step to explain why further action was precluded at this time.  Adding hard data to the point previously made here at ESA blawg about the potential for the listing petition process to misdirect and otherwise consume limited resources, the warranted but precluded section of this announcement includes some economic data: "The number of listing actions that we can undertake in a given year also is influenced by the complexity of those listing actions; that is, more complex actions generally are more costly. The median cost for preparing and publishing a 90–day finding is $39, 276; for a 12–month finding, $100,690; for a proposed rule with critical habitat, $345,000; and for a final listing rule with critical habitat, the median cost is $305,000."  The notice, which comes at very close to the end of the fiscal year, listed the 62 completed listing actions to date, 16 funded but not yet complete actions subject to court order or settlement agreements, 69 different pending actions with statutory deadlines (many of which included multiple species, and some of them including hundreds of species), and pending high-priority listing actions on 55 species.


75 Fed. Reg. 55820 / Vol. 75, No. 177 / Tuesday, September 14, 2010 / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service
FWS–R3–ES–2010–N129; 30120–1113–0000–C4
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 5-Year Status Reviews of Seven Midwest Species

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are initiating 5-year status reviews under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), of seven animal and plant species. We conduct these reviews to ensure that our classification of each species on the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants as threatened or endangered is accurate. A 5-year review assesses the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. We are requesting the public to send us any information that  as become available since the most recent status reviews on each of these species. Based on review results, we will determine whether we should change the listing status of any of these species. DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written information by November 15, 2010. However, we will continue to accept new information about any listed species at any time.

The seven species are: endangered Higgins eye (Lampsilis higginsii), endangered Iowa Pleistocene Snail (Discus macclintocki), endangered Hungerford’s crawling water beetle (Brychius hungerfordi), threatened Missouri bladderpod (Physaria filiformis), endangered Running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum), threatened Western prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara), and threatened Pitcher’s thistle (Cirsium pitcheri).  Running buffalo clover (pictured above from U.S. Forest Service) occurs in mesic habitats of partial to filtered sunlight, where there is a prolonged pattern of moderate periodic disturbance, such as mowing, trampling, or grazing.  According to the Recovery Plan, and depending on the outcome of this status review, delisting of the plant species may soon be appropriate, because since its listing in 1987, the known number of  populations has dramatically increased as survey efforts have expanded throughout the historic range, and some initially identified potential threats do not appear to be a risk to the species.


75 Fed. Reg. 55686 / Vol. 75, No. 177 / Tuesday, September 14, 2010 / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2010–0068; 92220–1113–0000–B3 / RIN 1018–AX28
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Technical Corrections for Three Midwest Region Plant Species

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the revised taxonomy of Lesquerella filiformis (Missouri bladderpod), Sedum integrifolium ssp. leedyi (Leedy’s roseroot), and Mimulus glabratus var. michiganensis (Michigan monkeyflower) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We are revising the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants to reflect the current scientifically accepted taxonomy and nomenclature of these species. We revise the scientific names of these species as follows: Physaria filiformis (=Lesquerella f.), Rhodiola integrifolia ssp. leedyi (=Sedum integrifolium ssp. l.), and Mimulus michiganensis (=M. glabratus var. michiganensis), respectively. DATES: This rule is effective December 13, 2010, without further action, unless significant adverse comment is received by October 14, 2010. If significant adverse comment is received, we will publish a timely withdrawal of the rule in the Federal Register.

KEITHINKING: Interesting notice and comment process allows for rapid action provided there is not a strong public reaction.