29 under threat species that won't be protected under the Trump administration

Monday , October 09, 2017 - 5:15 AM1 comment

LEIA LARSEN, Standard-Examiner Staff

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made decisions on a slew of backlogged endangered species protections this month. Most of the proposed plants, birds, insects, mammals and other proposed animals didn’t make the cut, including a few in Utah.

The wildlife service administers the Endangered Species Act, passed by Congress in 1973. The agency had a deadline at the end of September to make new listing decisions on 62 species. To date, 29 of those species were rejected, 10 received protections and seven decisions were delayed. There’s a backlog of 17 species with no determinations, including for the American wolverine, which occasionally wanders into Utah.

Utah’s eastern boreal toad didn’t make the cut. USFWS has yet to weigh in on the white-tailed prairie dog.  

RELATEDFeds reject boreal toad endangered listing; Utah to keep up conservation efforts

Many of the rejected species include rare snails still living in small springs throughout the Great Basin, vestiges of a the environment that existed in the region thousands of years ago. Most of the protected species are plants, which are mostly found in Florida. Other species left off the list include turtles, fish, snakes, crustaceans, owls, woodpeckers and the Pacific walrus.

Many of proposed species have extraordinary characteristics, a result of adaptions to their own unique and often environments. All are threatened by human activities, ranging from water pollution to habitat fragmentation from urban development to climate change.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned many of the species and lamented the plants and animals left off the list. They called the decision political.

“This is a truly dark day for America’s imperiled wildlife. You couldn’t ask for a clearer sign that the Trump administration puts corporate profits ahead of protecting endangered species,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center, in a press release.

Wildlife advocates are especially concerned about the decision not to list the Pacific walrus, which faces an impending risk as a warming climate melts Arctic ice.

Alaska lawmakers, however, praised the Service’s decision.

“There are often numerous unintended consequences associated with new ESA designations, including those that undermine stewardship done at the state, local and tribal level and ignore the needs and firsthand knowledge of local communities,” said U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska. “We've seen it before, where field-tested and empirical data was ignored in favor of the environmentalist agenda to limit resource development in Alaska. I'm glad to see that didn't happen this time.”

Meanwhile, Utah GOP Congressman Rob Bishop moved to revamp the ESA. On Oct. 4. the the House Committee on Natural Resources, which Bishop chairs, passed five bills to reform the act.

“The ESA is a landmark statute created with noble intent,” Bishop said in a statement. “It also includes fatal design flaws that inhibit greater success and handicap state-led, science-based recovery strategies. These flaws must be addressed and the law must be modernized.”

Here’s a current list of species with an expected decision by the end of the 2017 fiscal year. To see the full list of the endangered plants and animals protected since the ESA was passed, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website

Species the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided not to list

Barbour's map turtle
Graptemys barbouri

These six to 11 inch-long turtles have horned shells. Because it’s rare, the Barbour’s map turtle threatened by humans who collect and trade the turtle nationally and abroad. 

Range: Alabama, Florida, Georgia

Bicknell's thrush
Catharus bicknelli

These small, migrating songbirds has brown upper feathers, a white belly and spotted breast. It is considered one of the rarest birds in the nation. It spends its summers in subalpine forests in the northeast United States and southeast Canada. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified climate change as a major threat to the species in 2012, which could impact its high-elevation breeding grounds. 

Range: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Canada, Bahamas, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica

Bifid duct pyrg
Pyrgulopsis peculiaris

This small snail species is only found in springs in Utah’s Millard County and a few places in Nevada. Only one of the Utah sites was found to be “undisturbed” by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. They’ve been identified on the Utah Sensitive Species List as a species of concern. Major threats include water diversion, trampling by livestock and other human disturbance.

Range: Nevada and Utah

Big Blue Springs cave crayfish
Procambarus horsti

This crustacean lives underground in springs and sink caves in Florida’s panhandle. It’s threatened by human changes to waterways and water pollution. 

Range: Florida

Black-backed woodpecker (Black Hills population)
Picoides arcticus

This bird thrives on recently burned forests, eating the wood-boring beetles that emerge after fires. 

Range: South Dakota and Wyoming

Decision outcome: No listing

Black-backed woodpecker (Oregon Cascades-California population)
Picoides arcticus

This bird thrives on recently burned forests, eating the wood-boring beetles that emerge after fires.

Range: California, North Dakota, Oregon

Decision outcome: No listing

Blue Point pyrg
Pyrgulopsis coloradensis

This snail species only exists in Nevada’s Blue Point spring, which is owned and managed by the National Park Service at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Its population numbers fluctuate. Biologists thought it might have gone extinct in 2001, but it was found again in 2006, then found to be “common or abundant” by 2012. Its main threats are invasive predators and off-road vehicle use. 

Range: Nevada

Boreal toad (Eastern population)
Bufo boreas boreas

These palm-sized toads are found near ponds and springs in high mountains of the southern Rocky Mountains. Their numbers have declined dramatically due to habitat destruction, invasive species and a fungus-caused disease called chytrid that’s wiping out amphibian populations around the world. 

Range: Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming

Bridled darter

Scientific name: Percina kusha

This is a small freshwater fish threatened by habitat degradation from urbanization and pollution from agriculture. 

Range: Georgia, Tennesse

Decision outcome: No listing

Butterfield pyrg
Pyrgulopsis lata

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.  

Range: Nevada

Great Sand Dunes tiger beetle
Cicindela theatina

This medium-sized beetle is only found in the Great Sand Dunes formation in southern Colorado, which is managed by the National Park Service. 

Range: Colorado

Corn Creek pyrg
Pyrgulopsis fausta

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

Fisher (Northern Rocky Mountains population)
Pekania pennanti (Northern Rockies DPS)

This black-brown, furry mammal lives in forested areas of North America. It’s main threats include habitat loss and trapping. 

Range: Montana and Idaho (Wyoming — accidental)

Flag pyrg
Pyrgulopsis breviloba

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

Florida Keys mole skink
Plestiodon egregius egregius

This long, slender, brown and pink lizard burrows under sandy areas, leaves or debris. The Center for Biological Diversity identified sea level rise from climate change and urban development as major threats to the species.

Range: Florida

Grated tryonia
Tryonia clathrata

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

Hardy pyrg
Pyrgulopsis marcida

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

Holiday darter
Etheostoma brevirostrum

This colorful, 2-inch fish is mostly found in the Talladega National Forest. It’s threatened by habitat destruction, stream diversion, dams, obstructions and agricultural pollution.  

Range: Alabama, Georgia, Tennesse

Hubbs pyrg
Pyrgulopsis hubbsi

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

Kirtland's snake
Clonophis kirtlandii

This black and salmon-colored snake is non-venmous and is only found in the Midwest. It prefers wet habitats where it can burrow underground. Petitioners found urbanization, illegal collection and disease as threats to the snake, but their population numbers are hard to track because they mostly live below ground.

Range: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee

Moapa pebblesnail
Pyrgulopsis avernalis

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

Moapa Valley pyrg
Pyrgulopsis carinifera

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

Lake Valley pyrg
Pyrgulopsis sublata

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

Pacific walrus
Odobenus rosmarus divergens

These thick-skinned, big-tusked pinnipeds live in sea ice near the mainlands and islands of Alaska and Russia. In 2011, the USFWS found the walrus warranted an endangered listing, laregely due to the threat of climate change and loss of Arctic sea ice. But federal officials said listing the animals was “precluded by higher priority actions,” and they instead added it to the candidate species list. On Oct. 5, 2017, the Trump administration decided the walrus isn’t warranted for listing.

Range: Alaska

Pahranagat pebblesnail
Pyrgulopsis merriami

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

San Felipe gambusia

A small fish found only in Val Verde County, Texas. The Service determined the San Felipe gambusia is not a distinct species, it’s the same species as the spotfin gambusia.

Range: Texas

Spring Mountains pyrg
Pyrgulopsis deaconi

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

Decision outcome: no listing

White River Valley pyrg
Pyrgulopsis sathos

One of many snail species found in Nevada springs, threatened by water diversions and habitat destruction.

Range: Nevada

Decision outcome: no listing

Kenk's amphipod
Stygobromus kenki

This white-colored freshwater crustacean looks similar to shrimp. It lives in ponds and springs and is only found in parks in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Range: Washington, D.C.

Species with delayed decisions

Mohave shoulderband
Helminthoglypta (Coyote) greggi

This small snail species is mostly threatened by mining activities. 

Range: California

Decision outcome: delayed

Panama City crayfish
Procambarus econfinae

This crusteacean is mostly threatened by habitat loss from draining wetlands, hurricanes and pollution. 

Range: Florida

Louisiana pinesnake
Pituophis ruthveni

This non-venomous snake grows as long as five feet. Urban development, roads, mining and agrictulre have all taken a toll on pinesnake populations. Its slow reproduction rates make it hard for the reptile to recover. 

Range: Louisiana

Black Warrior Waterdog
Necturus alabamensis

These large salamanders grow to be nearly 10 inches. It is threatened by degraded water quality and habitat fragmentation from human development. 

Range: Alabama

San Fernando Valley Spineflower
Chorizanthe parryi var. fernandina

Thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 1999, this flowering plant is native to southern California. It was largely wiped out by human development and remains threatened by urbanization and invasive species.  

Range: California

Texas Hornshell
Popenaias popeii

The Texas hornshell is one of only a few freshwater mussels still found in the Southwest. It’s threatened by stream alteration, pollution and water diversions. 

Range: Texas

Species with no decision so far

Atlantic pigtoe
Fusconaia masoni

This freshwater mussel is threatened by dams and water pollution. 

Range: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia

Beaver Pond marstonia
Marstonia castor

A small freshwater snail with a limited known range. 

Range: Georgia

Blackfin sucker
Thoburnia atripinnis

This small fish is only found at the headwaters of the Barren River. 

Range: Kentucky and Tennesse

Carolina madtom
Noturus furiosus

This small catfish has stinging spines in its fins. The USFWS notes its historical range has been largely reduced, mostly because of water pollution, reduced water flow and invasive predators. The wildlife service notes these threats will amplify with a growing urban population and climate change.

Range: North Carolina

Cedar Key mole skink
Plestiodon egregius insularis

This small lizard lives on small islands in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s threatened by reptile collectors and human disturbance. 

Range: Florida

Hermes copper butterfly
Lycaena hermes

Idenfitiable by its fuzzy body, big eyes and copper-colored wings, this insect has long been threatened by urban development in the San Diego area. Climate change and more frequent wildfires are also destroying what little habitat the butterfly has left.

Range: California

Island marble butterfly
Euchloe ausonides insulanus

This insect was thought to be extinct until small populations were found on islands between Washington State and Vancouver Island. 

Range: Washington

Lesser prairie-chicken
Tympanuchus pallidicinctus

A member of the grouse family, the lesser prairie-chicken is threatened by fire, habitat lost to human development and livestock grazing. 

Range: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

Neuse River waterdog
Necturus lewisi

This salamander spends its life in the water and grows to be nearly a foot long. The species is sensitive to sediments being deposited into the water where it lives. 

Range: North Carolina

Decision outcome: none so far

Northern spotted owl
Strix occidentalis caurina

This bird once covered a large range in the old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, but has seen steep declines due to logging and urban development. 

Range: California, Oregon, Washington

San Joaquin Valley giant flower-loving fly
Rhaphiomidas trochilus

The Los Angeles County Natural History Museum says this insect is large enough to be mistaken for a hummingbird. The flies were thought to be extinct until a small colony was discovered in 2001. 

Range: California

Tinian monarch
Monarcha takatsukasae

This small fly-catching bird is only found on Tinian Island in the Mariana Island, a Pacific territory controlled by the United States. The bird was nearly wiped out when Tinian’s forests were cleared for agriculture. 

Range: Northern Mariana Islands

White-tailed prarie dog
Cynomys leucurus

This burrowing rodent is threatened by human development and by human efforts to exterminate the animal.

Range: Utah, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming

American wolverine
Gulo gulo

This large, fiesty mammal lives in high, snowy mountains. It is threatened by habitat fragmentation and human trapping. 

RELATEDOut Standing in a Field Podcast, ‘On the prowl for wolverines’

Range: Montana, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, California

Wright's marsh thistle
Cirsium wrightii

This spiky, flowering plant is threatened by invasive species crowding it out and a loss of wetland habitat.  

Range: New Mexico

Western glacier stonefly
Zapada glacier

This insect depends on the cold water flowing from mountain glaciers. As climate change warms the West, it also threatens the stonefly’s habitat. 

Range: Montana

Mist Forestfly
Lednia tumana

Similar to the Western glacier stonefly, this fly depends on the cold temperatures and glacier environment only found in Glacier National Park. 

Range: Montana

Species listed as endangered or threatened

Candy darter
Etheostoma osburni

The USFWS determined this small, freshwater fish should be listed as “threatened.” It has a slow reproductive cycle and is threatened by warming waters and high sediment loads running into streams, along with non-native species competition and several other human-caused threats.

Range: Virginia and West Virginia

Trispot darter
Etheostoma trisella

The USFWS notes this fish’s historical range has been reduced by 20 percent. It remains threatened by human structures in streams that become barriers for the fish, along with declining water quality. The USFWS proposes the Trispot darter be listed as “threatened.” 

Range: Alabama, Tennesse, Georgia

Everglades bully
Sideroxylon reclinatum ssp. austrofloridense

The Everlades Bully is one of four Floridian plants the USFWS had decided to list as threatened or endangered, mostly because the plant’s habitat has been developed, leaving only isolated holdouts of the plant on private and public lands. The USFWS determined the bully is “threatened.” 

Range: Florida

Florida pineland crabgrass
Digitaria pauciflora

Florida pineland crabgrass is one of four Floridian plants the USFWS had decided to list as threatened or endangered, mostly because the plant’s habitat has been developed, leaving only isolated holdouts of the plant on private and public lands. The USFWS determined the crabgrass is “threatened.”

Range: Florida

Pineland sandmat
Chamaesyce deltoidea ssp. pinetorum

The pineland sandmat is one of four Floridian plants the USFWS had decided to list as threatened or endangered, mostly because the plant’s habitat has been developed, leaving only isolated holdouts of the plant on private and public lands. The USFWS determined the sandmat is “threatened.”

Range: Florida

Florida prairie-clover
Dalea carthagenensis var. floridana

The Florida prairie-clover is one of four Floridian plants the USFWS had decided to list as threatened or endangered, mostly because the plant’s habitat has been developed, leaving only isolated holdouts of the plant on private and public lands. The USFWS determined the prairie-clover is “endangered.”

Range: Florida

Pearl Darter
Percina aurora

The USFWS recommends protecting this small fish species as “threatened.” It is mainly at peril due to water pollution. 

Range: Mississippi

Sonoyta Mud Turtle
Kinosternon sonoriense longifemorale

This aquatic turtle lives in Arizona’s dry Sonoran desert. The USFWS determined the species should have an “endangered” listing as groundwater pumping and surface water pumping have siphoned its habitat dry. These conditions have been amplified by a years-long drought. 

Range: Arizona

'I'Iwi (Scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper)
Drepanis coccinea

This bright red bird will recieve protection as a “threatened” species. The USFWS determined the ‘I’lwi has seen massive declines because of habitat loss and avian disease. 

Range: Hawaii

Guadalupe Fescue
Festuca ligulata

The USFWS proposes an “endangered” listing for this grass species, which is nearly extinct because of cattle grazing and wildfire supresison. 

Range: Texas

Contact Reporter Leia Larsen at 801-625-4289 or llarsen@standard.net. Follow her on Facebook.com/leiainthefield or on Twitter @LeiaLarsen. 

Sign up for e-mail news updates.

×