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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.

« FWS announces endangered status for 7 Brazilian birds, and publishes recovery plan for St. Andrews beach mouse | Main| NOAA designates Critical Habitat for Threatened Lower Columbia River Coho Salmon and Puget Sound Steelhead »

NOAA announces recovery plan for sperm whale, proposes Pacific eulachon critical habitat, extends comment period on Atlantic sturgeon critical habitat

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75 Fed. Reg. 81584 (Tuesday, December 28, 2010) / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
RIN 0648–XA041
Endangered and Threatened Species; Recovery Plan for the Sperm Whale
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of Availability; recovery plan for the sperm whale.

SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the adoption of an Endangered Species Act (ESA) Recovery Plan for the Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus). The Recovery Plan contains revisions and additions in consideration of public comments received on the proposed draft Recovery Plan for the sperm whale.  ADDRESSES: Additional information about the Recovery Plan may be obtained by writing to Monica DeAngelis, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Regional Office, Protected Resources Division, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802 or send an electronic message to Electronic copies of the Recovery Plan and a summary of NMFS’ response to public comments on the Recovery Plan are available online at the NMFS Office of Protected Resources Web site:

The main threats to sperm whale populations include collisions with vessels, direct harvest, and possibly competition for resources, loss of prey base due to climate change, and disturbance from anthropogenic noise. An important component of this recovery program is to determine population structure of the species and population discreteness. This would be a first step in estimating population size, monitoring trends in abundance, and enabling an assessment of the species throughout its range. Because sperm whales move freely across international borders, it would be unreasonable to confine recovery efforts to U.S. waters, and this Recovery Plan stresses the importance of a multinational approach to management. Ideally, both research and conservation should be undertaken at oceanic rather than national levels.  Photo from

LINK: Sperm Whale Recovery Plan (Dec. 21, 2010)


76 Fed. Reg. 515 (Wednesday, January 5, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Part 226 / Docket No. 101027536–0540–02 / RIN 0648–BA38
Endangered and Threatened Species, Designation of Critical Habitat for Southern Distinct Population Segment of Eulachon
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comment.

SUMMARY: We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose to designate critical habitat for the southern Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of Pacific eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus), which was recently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We have proposed 12 specific areas for designation as critical habitat within the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. The proposed areas are a combination of freshwater creeks and rivers and their associated estuaries which comprise approximately 470 km (292 mi) of habitat. Three particular areas are proposed for exclusion  after evaluating the impacts and benefits associated with tribal land ownership and management by Indian tribes, but no areas are proposed for exclusion based on economic impacts. We are soliciting comments from the public on all aspects of the proposal, including information on the economic,national security, and other relevant impacts of the proposed designation, as well as the benefits to the southern DPS of eulachon from designation. We will consider additional information received prior to making a final designation. DATES: Comments on this proposed rule must be received by close of business on March 7, 2011.

EXCERPT: The physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the southern DPS fall into three major categories reflecting key life history phases of eulachon: (1) Freshwater spawning and incubation sites with water flow, quality and temperature conditions and substrate supporting spawning and incubation. These features are essential to conservation because without them the species cannot successfully spawn and produce offspring. (2) Freshwater and estuarine migration corridors free of obstruction and with water flow, quality and temperature conditions supporting larval and adult mobility, and with abundant prey items supporting larval feeding after the yolk sac is depleted. These features are essential to conservation because they allow adult fish to swim upstream to reach spawning areas and they allow larval fish to proceed downstream and reach the ocean. (3) Nearshore and offshore marine foraging habitat with water quality and available prey, supporting juveniles and adult survival. Juveniles eat phytoplankton, copepod eggs, copepods and other small zooplanktons (including euphausiids; Barraclough, 1964), and adults eat euphausiids and copepods (Hart, 1973). These features are essential to conservation because they allow juvenile fish to survive, grow, and reach maturity, and they allow adult fish to survive and return to freshwater systems to spawn.


75 Fed.Reg. 82370 (Thursday, December 30, 2010) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Parts 223 and 224 / RIN 0648–XJ00 and RIN 0648–XN50
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Listing Determinations for Five Distinct Population Segments of Atlantic Sturgeon; Extension of Public Comment Period
AGENCY: National Marine FisheriesService (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Proposed rule; extension of public comment period.

SUMMARY: NMFS hereby extends the comment period on the proposed listing of five distinct population segments (DPSs) of Atlantic sturgeon as endangered or threatened until February 3, 2011. The five DPSs were proposed for listing in two separate proposed listing determinations, published on October 6, 2010. DATES: Comments and information regarding the proposed rules published October 6, 2010 (75 FR 61872; 75 FR 61904) must be received by February 3, 2011.