On Friday, September 29, 2017, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (“Service”) announced its withdrawal of the proposed rule listing the Kenk’s amphipod (Stygobromus kenki), an aquatic crustacean, as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The Service originally proposed to list the amphipod, which occurs in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland, in September 2016 due to the impacts of water quality, water quantity, and other collateral impacts of urbanization near the species’ habitat. In support of its decision to withdraw the proposed listing the Service documents the discovery of additional populations and increased protections afforded the species under the Fort A.P. Hill Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan.
The Service also published a proposed rule to remove the Deseret milkvetch (Astragalus desereticus) from the list of endangered and threatened plants on Monday, October 2, 2017. The milkvetch, a plant species native to Utah, was listed as threatened in 1999. The Service’s proposal to delist the milkvetch is based on a substantial increase in the population and new protections for the species since the 1999 listing. Based on new surveys, population estimates have increased nearly 20-fold – even though the species only occurs in a single known population on approximately 300 acres of land in central Utah. A Conservation Agreement, signed in 2006 between the State of Utah and the Service, reduces the threats to the species by providing for ongoing management on the majority of milkvetch occupied habitat.