As 2018 approaches, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) made a few announcements that will likely impact the list of threatened and endangered species. In these last 11 days of 2017, the Service announced 90-day findings on petitions to list or reclassify five species, and 12-month findings on petitions to list or de-list two species under the ESA.
- On December 20, 2017, the Service announced 90-day findings on petitions for five separate species. The Service found that the petitioned actions for each of the five species may be warranted, based on the information presented in each of the petitions. For each of the five species, the Service is requesting additional information on the status of the species, and initiating a status review. Specifically, the Service found that:
- The petition to list the Oblong rocksnail (Leptoxis compacta) as endangered or threatened may be warranted. The rocksnail is found in the Cahaba River, in Shelby County, Alabama.
- The petition to list the Sturgeon chub (Macrhybopsis gelida) and the Sicklefin chub (Macrhybopsis meeki) as endangered or threatened may be warranted. Both are found in parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming.
- The listing of the Tri-Colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) may also be warranted. The bat is found in over 30 states, the District of Columbia, and parts of Canada and Mexico.
- The listing of the populations of venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula ellis) found in southeastern North Carolina, northeastern South Carolina, and the introduced populations in Florida and New Jersey, may be warranted.
- Corrections to an earlier 90-day finding on a petition to list the leopard (Panthera pardus) as endangered throughout its range were necessary. These corrections clarified that the status review would include all populations of the leopard throughout its range, and that the leopard’s current range encompasses 62 countries in Africa and Asia.
- On December 29, 2017, the Service announced 12-month status review findings on a petition to list the beaverpond marstonia (Marstonia castor) as endangered or threatened, and a petition to remove the southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) from the list of ESA species. With respect to the marstonia, a freshwater snail native to three creeks in Georgia, the Service found that it did not meet the definition of either a threatened or endangered species because it is believed to be extinct. The flycatcher is a small migratory bird that is found in the southwestern United States in parts of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and was first listed as an endangered species in 1995. Based on a review of the subspecies classifications for the flycatcher, recent studies evaluating diagnostic subspecies characteristics, and evaluating the threats to the flycatcher, the Service found that the flycatcher remains a valid subspecies that meets the definition of an endangered species under the ESA.