Golden-winged warbler may warrant endangered status
The golden-winged warbler, a small songbird found in the north-central and eastern United States, may warrant federal protection as a threatened or endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced June 2. The announcement follows an initial review of a petition seeking to protect the golden-winged warbler under the Endangered Species Act.
FWS will undertake a more thorough status review of the species to determine whether to propose adding the species to the federal lists of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants.
The decision, known as a 90-day finding, is based on scientific information about the species provided in the petition asking the FWS to list the warbler. The petition finding is the first step in a process that triggers a more thorough review of all the biological information available.
To ensure this status review is comprehensive, the FWS is asking for information from state and federal natural resource agencies and all interested parties regarding the golden-winged warbler and its habitat.
Based on the status review, the FWS will make one of three possible determinations:
1. Listing is not warranted, in which case no further action will be taken.
2. Listing as threatened or endangered is warranted. In this case, the FWS will publish a proposal to list, solicit independent scientific peer review of the proposal, seek input from the public, and consider the input before a final decision about listing the species is made. In general, there is a one-year period between the time a species is proposed and the final decision.
3. Listing is warranted but precluded by other, higher priority activities. This means the species is added to the federal list of candidate species, and the proposal to list is deferred while the FWS works on listing proposals for other species that are at greater risk. A warranted, but precluded, finding requires subsequent annual reviews of the finding until such time as either a listing proposal is published, or a not warranted finding is made based on new information.
The Endangered Species Act makes it illegal to kill, harm or otherwise “take” a listed species, or to possess, import, export or engage in interstate or international commerce of a listed species without authorization in the form of a permit from the FWS. The act also requires all federal agencies to minimize the impact of their activities on listed species, and directs the FWS to work with federal agencies and other partners to develop and carry out recovery efforts for those species. Listing also focuses attention on the needs of the species, encouraging conservation efforts by other agencies (federal, state and local), conservation groups and other organizations and individuals.
Golden-winged warblers historically nested in areas that were previously disturbed by natural fires, storms or other events that resulted in early successional growth. Loss of such habitat as the result of reforestation and fire suppression is thought to be contributing to a decline in the warbler’s population throughout its breeding range. The species winters in Central and South America.
Information about the species may be submitted by one of the following methods:
u Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. [FWS-R3-ES-2011-0028].
u U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. [FWS-R3-ES-2011-0028]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
To allow adequate time to conduct a review, information should be submitted on or before Aug. 1.
For more about the golden-winged warbler and this finding, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/MidwestBird/birds_golden_winged_warbler.htm.
From the June 15-21, 2011 issue
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