Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, October 12, 2017

Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495, ngreenwald@biologicaldiversity.org

Analysis: Trump Administration Drops Ball on Protecting Imperiled Animals

22 Species Get No Endangered Species Act Decision, 29 Denied Protection, 20 Denied Protected Critical Habitat

WASHINGTON— Research by the Center for Biological Diversity shows that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to make decisions concerning protection of 22 species under the Endangered Species Act, pushing the lesser prairie chicken, Hermes copper butterfly and others closer to extinction.

The Fish and Wildlife Service also failed to provide critical habitat for 20 already-listed endangered species, including the yellow-billed cuckoo and green sea turtle. Another 29 species, the Pacific walrus and black-backed woodpecker among them, were denied protection altogether. 

“We give the Trump administration and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke a failing grade on protecting the nation’s endangered species,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “The Fish and Wildlife Service made an honest attempt to prioritize species protections with extensive input from state wildlife agencies. But the agency wasn’t able to get the job done for these imperiled animals because of opposition from the Trump administration.”

The decisions were supposed to have been made in fiscal year 2017, which ended Sept. 30, according to a workplan developed by the Fish and Wildlife Service to address a backlog of more than 500 plants and animals awaiting endangered species protections.

Under the workplan, as well as court orders in some cases, the agency was supposed to make protection decisions for 61 species and designate critical habitat for 20 other species. Instead agency staffers made decisions for 39 species, only protecting 10, and designated critical habitat for zero species.

“The Trump administration’s failure to implement the Endangered Species Act is pushing dozens of species closer to extinction,” said Greenwald. “The administration is totally out of step with the vast majority of Americans who back strong protections for wildlife. Trump officials are very clearly putting profits for polluting corporations above the needs of both people and wildlife.”

For those species that did get decisions in line with the workplan, the majority were denied protection, including many that are severely imperiled. Of the 39 species for which decisions were issued, just 10 received protection. The other 29 were all denied.  This includes the Pacific walrus, which is threatened by loss of summer sea ice caused by climate change and which was found to warrant protection by the Obama administration in 2011; the Florida Keys mole skink, which is extremely rare and rapidly losing habitat to sea-level rise, again caused by climate change; and the Northern Rocky Mountains fisher, a relative of the mink and otter that is threatened by fur trapping and logging of its habitat. 

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Table 1. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped the ball on making protection decisions for these 22 species.

Species Name

Action Type

Range

Atlantic pigtoe

12-month listing determination

GA, NC, SC, VA

beaver pond marstonia

12-month listing determination

GA

blackfin sucker

12-month listing determination

KY, TN

Carolina madtom

12-month listing determination

NC

Cedar Key mole skink

12-month listing determination

FL

Hermes copper butterfly

Candidate species awaiting a proposed rule

CA

island marble butterfly

Candidate species awaiting a proposed rule

WA

lesser prairie-chicken

Discretionary Status Review

CO, KS, NM, OK, TX

Mohave shoulderband

12-month listing determination

CA

Neuse River waterdog

12-month listing determination

NC

northern spotted owl

12-month determination for uplisting to endangered

CA, OR, WA

Panama City crayfish

12-month listing determination

FL

San Joaquin Valley giant flower-loving fly

12-month listing determination

CA

Tinian monarch

12-month listing determination

MP

white-tailed prarie dog

12-month listing determination

CO, MT, UT, WY

Wright's marsh thistle

Proposed Listing Determination

NM

Louisiana pinesnake

Final Listing

LA

black warrior waterdog

Final Listing

AL

western glacier stonefly

Final Listing

MT

mist forestfly

Final Listing

MT

San Fernando Valley chorizanthe

Final Listing

CA

Texas hornshell

Final Listing

TX

 

Table 2. These 29 species were denied protection by the Trump administration.

Species Name

Range

Barbour's map turtle

AL, FL, GA

Bicknell's thrush

CT, DE, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT, Canada

bifid duct pyrg

NV, UT

Big Blue Springs cave crayfish

FL

black-backed woodpecker (Black Hills population)

SD, WY

black-backed woodpecker (Oregon Cascades-California population)

CA, ND, OR

Blue Point pyrg

NV

boreal toad (Eastern population)

CO, ID, NM, NV, UT, WY

bridled darter

GA, TN

Butterfield pyrg

NV

Colorado tiger beetle

CO

Corn Creek pyrg

NV

fisher (Northern Rocky Mountains population)

MT, ID, (WY - accidental)

flag pyrg

NV

Florida Keys mole skink

FL

grated tryonia

NV

Hardy pyrg

NV

holiday darter

AL, GA, TN

Hubb’s pyrg

NV

Kirtland's snake

IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, OH, PA, TN

Lake Valley pyrg

NV

Moapa pebblesnail

NV

Moapa Valley pyrg

NV

Pacific walrus

AK

Pahranagat pebblesnail

NV

San Felipe gambusia

TX

Spring Mountains pyrg

NV

White River Valley pyrg

NV

Kenk's amphipod

DC

 

Table 3. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to designate critical habitat for the following 20 species.

Species Name

Action Type

Range

spring pygmy sunfish

Final critical habitat

AL

yellow-billed cuckoo (Western U.S. DPS)

Final critical habitat

AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NE, NM, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY

elfin woods warbler

Final critical habitat

Puerto Rico

black pine snake

Final critical habitat

AL, MS

Miami tiger beetle

Proposed critical habitat

FL

Florida bristle fern

Proposed critical habitat

FL

Florida bonneted bat

Proposed critical habitat

FL

green sea turtle (North Atlantic DPS)

Proposed critical habitat

 

green sea turtle (Central West Pacific DPS)

Proposed critical habitat

 

green sea turtle (South Atlantic DPS)

Proposed critical habitat

 

green sea turtle (Central North Pacific DPS)

Proposed critical habitat

 

green sea turtle (Central South Pacific DPS)

Proposed critical habitat

 

Big Sandy crayfish

Proposed critical habitat

KY, VA, WV

rufa red knot

Proposed critical habitat

AL, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, RI, SC, SD, TX, VA, WV, WI

Guyandotte River crayfish

Proposed critical habitat

WV

narrow-headed gartersnake

Revised proposed critical habitat

AZ, NM, Mexico

Georgetown salamander

Revised proposed critical habitat

TX

Salado salamander

Revised proposed critical habitat

TX

Northern Mexican gartersnake

Revised proposed critical habitat

AZ, NM, Mexico

slickspot peppergrass 

Revised proposed critical habitat

ID

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