Service Lists Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle as Threatened with a 4(d) Rule
Service Lists Suwannee Alligator Snapping Turtle as Threatened with a 4(d) Rule

Alligator snapping turtle

On June 27, 2024, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule listing the Suwannee alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelids suwanniensis) as a threatened species with a 4(d) rule under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Suwannee alligator snapping turtle is a large, freshwater turtle species occurring in the Suwannee River basin in Florida and Georgia. The species’ listing follows a 2012 petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity to list 53 amphibians and reptiles, including the alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii), which, due to genetic variations, has since been split into two separate entities, one of which is the Suwannee alligator snapping turtle.

In the preamble to the final rule, the Service cites illegal harvest and collection, net predation, and hook ingestion and entanglement associated with freshwater fishing, as threats to the Suwannee alligator snapping turtle that are likely to cause the species to become endangered in the foreseeable future. However, the Service concluded that designating critical habitat for the species is not prudent at this time.

The final rule includes a final 4(d) rule that prohibits the same activities prohibited for endangered species, but allows exemptions for activities authorized under lawful permits, certain activities performed by conservation agencies, and incidental take resulting from forest management activities that use state-approved best management practices to protect water quality and stream and riparian habitat. Notably, in the final 4(d) rule, the Service did not include an exception for pesticide and herbicide use, which had appeared in the agency’s proposed 4(d) rule.

Both the final listing rule and the 4(d) rule will be effective July 29, 2024.

  • Samantha  Savoni

    Sam Savoni focuses her practice on a variety of environmental and land use matters, including those dealing with the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, National Historic Preservation Act ...

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.

Stay Connected




View All Nossaman Blogs
Jump to Page

We use cookies on this website to improve functionality, enhance performance, analyze website traffic and to enable social media features. To learn more, please see our Privacy Policy and our Terms & Conditions for additional detail.