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Feds Announce Candidate Species Listing Schedule

WildEarth Guardians' Settlement Agreement Expediting Protection for Hundreds of Imperiled Species

Washington, DC – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has posted a complete schedule of listing actions the agency will take under its historic species settlement agreement with WildEarth Guardians. The agreement, approved by a federal court in September 2011, requires the agency to address 252 candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act before the end of FY 2016. The Service has already listed, or proposed to list, a number of the candidates in the first two years of the agreement, and many more have scheduled deadlines under the agreement coming up in the next few years. The list posted today schedules the remaining candidates for action.

“The settlement agreement is working and it is exciting to see all the species that might finally be protected under Endangered Species Act,” said Taylor Jones, Endangered Species Advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “After years of waiting without protection on the candidate species list, the end is in sight for these imperiled plants and animals.”

Already two years old, the settlement agreement has already resulted in 54 new species listings and the designation of 94,689 acres and 2,032 stream miles of critical habitat to support their recovery. These include a suite of freshwater mussels in Alabama and Florida (native North American freshwater mussels are one of the most imperiled groups of animals on the planet), a large number of Hawaiian species, and three plants threatened by energy development in Colorado.

Candidate species receiving action deadlines in the workplan include the Siskiyou mariposa lily, Xantus’s murrelet, white fringeless orchid, Sprague’s pipit, Louisiana pine snake, Washington ground squirrel, Sonoyta mud turtle, Northern wormwood, and many more.

“We welcome the clarity that this comprehensive workplan brings,” said Jones. “Now conservationists, concerned citizens, and scientists can better prepare to engage in the listing process to protect all the imperiled species included in the agreement.”

Listing under the Endangered Species Act has proven to be an effective safety net for imperiled species: more than 99 percent of plants and animals listed under the Act persist today. But the law only protects species that are formally listed as “threatened” or “endangered.” Plants and animals on the candidate list were previously recognized by the Service as warranting listing under the Act. Some candidate species have waited for more than three decades for protection.


 

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