U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiates Endangered Species Act status reviews for 23 species

Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced 90-day findings on various petitions to list, reclassify, or delist 25 fish, wildlife, or plant species under the Endangered Species Act. The announcement appears in the September 18, 2015 issue of the Federal Register (80 FR 56423 – 56432).

In the notice, the agency announces that it has found that two petitions did not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted. Thus, the agency will not be initiating status reviews in response to those two petitions. However, the Service is initiating status reviews for 23 species and is requesting relevant scientific and commercial data and other information. Based on the status reviews, the Service will issue 12-month findings that will address whether the petitioned actions are warranted.

The petitioners assert that forestry-related activities are a threat to nine of the 23 species. These nine species include the Florida pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus), Peaks of Otter salamander (Plethodon hubrichti), short-tailed snake (Stilosoma extenuatum), and wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) in the eastern US, and the northern bog lemming (Synaptomys borealis), California spotted owl (Strix occidentalis occidentalis), Cascade torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton cascadae), Columbia torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton kezeri), and Shasta salamander (Hydromantes shastae) in the western US. NCASI is currently evaluating scientific information cited in the petitions for these species.