Recovery plans

Sep 092015

Delisting of the endangered dusky gopher frog is "not currently foreseeable" because of its restricted range, the small number of frogs remaining in the wild, and continued threats to the species' existence, the Fish and Wildlife Service said in a recovery plan released today. (Click link for ECOS profile)

Instead, the plan's long-term goal is to downlist the frog from endangered to threatened.

The service designated critical habitat for the frog in 2012. The decision was challenged in court, but the judge "reluctantly" upheld the designation.

Here's more from the plan, posted on the service's website.

Dusky (Mississippi) gopher frog (Rana sevosa)

Recovery Strategy: The recovery strategy for the dusky gopher frog consists of maintaining and enhancing existing populations on tracts of public and private land; monitoring the status of existing populations; identifying and securing additional dusky gopher frog populations and habitat; establishing new populations through translocations or reintroductions; and supporting research that guides land management and provides demographic and ecological data.
Management plans should be developed and implemented for all sites where the dusky gopher frog occurs. Appropriate habitat management includes minimizing soil disturbance and loss of native herbaceous groundcover vegetation;  conducting prescribed burning, particularly during the growing season; maintaining open-canopied, grassy wetlands; and restoring degraded upland habitat. In addition, management plans should specifically address habitat modifications (e.g., filling of drainage ditches and plow lines, restoring native groundcover flora) necessary to improve and maintain appropriate habitat.

Monitoring programs to track population trends and the response of this species to habitat management activities are needed for all populations. Monitoring programs should be evaluated and revised as needed. Since recovery of the dusky gopher frog will necessitate finding or creating new, currently unknown populations, assessment of potentially suitable habitat within the range of the frog and additional presence/absence surveys are needed, especially in Alabama and Louisiana. If no additional dusky gopher frog populations are found, suitable habitat for translocations/reintroductions needs to be identified, and programs developed and implemented to establish and monitor these new populations and manage the habitat that supports them. We expect to conduct a Species Status Assessment (SSA) for the dusky gopher frog in the future and will make revisions to the recovery plan accordingly.

May 062015

Hearing, live (from Senate EPW page)

Link to EPW page on hearing

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) also has introduced a bill, S. 1081, to ban the use of body-gripping traps in national wildlife refuges.

Center for Biological Diversity news release (click the links in the release for more information from THOMAS and the senators' web pages)

For Immediate Release, May 6, 2015

Contact Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121,

Senate Republicans Take Aim at Endangered Species Act

Proposed Legislation Would End Protections for More Than 800 Species, Gut Critical Habitat, Politicize Science

WASHINGTON— The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing today on eight Republican-sponsored bills attacking the Endangered Species Act, including one that would end federal protection for more than 800 endangered animals and plants around the country.

Several of the bills are nearly identical to legislation introduced by Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives last year that sought to limit public participation and citizen enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, and undermine the scientific basis for protection decisions for our nation's most imperiled wildlife. Two bills — one introduced by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and one introduced by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. — would eliminate endangered species protections for hundreds of currently protected species and severely weaken habitat protections for many more.

“In the past four years Republicans have introduced more than 50 bills to weaken the Endangered Species Act and 100 bills going after individual species. Not a single one, though, would help save an endangered plant and animal,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Polls consistently show a majority of Americans, including many Republicans, support protecting endangered species. These kinds of bills may please rich campaign donors – especially those exploiting the planet for profits – but they’re way outside the mainstream.”

Among the bills in today’s hearing:

S. 855, Sen. Paul’s so called “Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act,” would eliminate all Endangered Species Act protections for species found only within one state. More than 800 endangered species, including all endangered species in Hawaii and Puerto Rico would lose federal protections if this bill were to pass. Another provision of this bill requires that all endangered species lose their protection every five years, after which they would only regain protection if Congress passes a joint resolution. No endangered species anywhere in the world has ever recovered in fewer than five years. The bald eagle took nearly 40 years to recover, as did the peregrine falcon and gray whale.

S. 112, Sen. Heller’s so-called “Common Sense in Species Protection Act of 2015,” would require the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider short-term economic costs when protecting critical habitat for endangered species and require the agency to exclude areas if the costs were deemed too high. If passed, such a bill would almost certainly reduce habitat protections for plants and animals. Research has shown that species with designated critical habitat are twice as likely to be recovering than those species without designated habitat

S. 292, introduced by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, would require that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publish on the Internet all data used for an endangered species listing decision, including detailed maps that could lead to more illegal poaching or collecting.

S. 293, also introduced by Sen. Cornyn, would limit the ability of the Service to settle cases without allowing state governments to intervene and would limit the availability of attorney’s fees available under the Endangered Species Act. By changing the basic judicial rules on when parties can intervene in lawsuits, the Department of Justice will not be able to settle patently unwinnable cases, forcing it to waste taxpayer resources in futile litigation. By slowing down litigation, species will continue to wait in limbo for protection under the Act.

S. 736, introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., would redefine the “best scientific data” to automatically include data provided by states, tribal governments or localities even if those data are in fact the most inaccurate, out-of-date data available. This bill would result in the Service using poorer data and making worse decisions regarding whether or not to protect endangered species, and would spur countless lawsuits arguing over what information qualifies as the best-available science. [Enzi page: "endangered species" search]

The proposals in the last three bills were all introduced in the last Congress in the House of Representatives.

“Republicans seem to introduce crazier and crazier legislation just to establish their Tea Party credentials for their favorite funders — the Koch brothers and the American Petroleum Institute,” said Hartl. “It’s sad that they continue to attack our most vulnerable endangered wildlife rather than trying to find solutions — such as fully funding endangered species recovery activities — to benefit our environment and our wildlife. This latest spectacle in the Senate looks to be just the first of many wasted opportunities over the next two years.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 825,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Mar 062015

See our Federal Register page for more   (and scroll down for the coral recovery plan links) On Public Inspection today FWS releases final recovery plan for the four subspecies of island fox (Urocyon littoralis). Each of the four subspecies, San Miguel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis littoralis), Santa Rosa Island fox (U. l. santarosae), Santa Cruz […]