U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues 12-Month Findings on Four Species

On April 5, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued 12-month findings on petitions to list the island marble butterfly (Euchloe ausonides insulanus), the San Bernardino flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus californicus), the spotless crake (Porzana tabuensis), and the Sprague’s pipit (Anthus spragueii) under the Endangered Species Act.  The Service concluded that the listing of the island marble butterfly is warranted but precluded by higher priority listing actions, but will place the butterfly on the list of candidate species.  The Service also concluded that the listing of the San Bernardino flying squirrel, the spotless crake, and the Sprague’s pipit is not warranted at this time.

The island marble butterfly inhabits San Juan Island in northwestern Washington.  According to the Service, stressors such as development, road construction and maintenance, agricultural practices, and herbivory by deer, livestock, and rabbits have led to a loss of habitat and the species’ decline.  The Service concluded that while listing is warranted, it is precluded by higher priority listing actions.  The Service will develop a proposed rule to list the species as its priorities allow.

The San Bernardino flying squirrel is an arboreal (lives in trees) rodent, active year-round, and primarily nocturnal.  It is found in the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains in southern California.  Among other measures and activities, the Service concluded that the Western Riverside County and Coachella Valley habitat conservation plans have alleviated stressors on the species and its habitat, thereby making listing not warranted.

The spotless crake is a very small (6 inches), blackish bird with a gray head and neck.  The species is found in parts of Australia, the Philippines, and Southeast Asia.  In considering whether the American Samoa population of the species warrants listing as a distinct population segment (DPS), the Service determined that the population meets the requirement for discreteness due to its geographic isolation, but is not sufficiently biologically and ecologically significant to qualify as a DPS. Thus, the Service concluded that listing is not warranted.

The Sprague’s pipit is a small bird primarily found in North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming in the summer, and Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Mexico during the winter.  Because stressors on the species, including loss of habitat from conversion of land to breeding grounds and energy development, are not as significant as previously thought, the Service concluded that listing is not warranted.

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Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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