Thursday, November 12, 2009

Endangered species

The Fish and Wildlife service keep a nicely organized webpage on endangered species that makes it easy to pull out virtually any statistic you might want. Although they don't have a listing by administration they do have a listing by year and 2009 has seen the addition of one animal, the Reticulated flatwoods salamander (due to taxonomy change - one species was divided into two and so a new listing is required), and two plants the Slick Spot Peppergrass and Phyllostegia hispida - a member of the mint family with no common name.

Good news today as one more species was removed from the endangered species list - the Brown Pelican was removed - and for genuine recovery reasons too!

And a correction. Just because I just heard about it doesn't mean this news was quite as minty fresh as I thought. The announcement by the Obama administration that it will take steps to confront the candidate species backlog actually dates back to September this year.

The law says Interior must issue a "finding" -- a decision on whether a species deserves a listing -- 12 months from its receipt of a listing petition. But petitions are going unanswered for an average of 11 years, the center says, and often are not addressed until forced by a judicial order.

The Obama administration says it is going to change how candidate species are handled. The Fish and Wildlife Service, the Interior agency responsible for the management of endangered species, is working on an accelerated listing process, said Doug Krofta, the service's listing chief. With new techniques and more funding, Krofta said, the service can trim the candidate list by 25 percent by the end of 2010.

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