Spring Pygmy Sunfish Now Listed As Threatened Under ESA
Posted 01 October 2013 - 05:46 PM
Posted 01 October 2013 - 06:26 PM
Posted 02 October 2013 - 11:41 AM
I know folks have mixed emotions about the ESA, because it represents new federal oversight/regulation. In many cases the goal of the ESA is recovery across a broad native range. The Bald Eagle and American Alligator are success stories, because the regulations did the job and then got out of the way. In the case of the Spring Pygmy Sunfish and other narrow-endemics, indefinite federal protection makes good sense. Freshwater fish and invertebrates need special consideration, because success is measured stream-by-stream. You can find a thriving population in one tributary, and a polluted dead zone in the next. I am optimistic about the Spring Pygmy Sunfish because we aren't just protecting the fish, but also the land surrounding their habitat. More than 2,000 acres are being considered in conservation agreements with three landowners. Most of this is bottomland that wasn't fit for agriculture or development in the first place, but could have easily been drained and paved. Critical habitat designation will not only help the sunfish, but also the endangered Slender Campeloma and an undescribed salamander. Previously, the habitat of the Slender Campeloma could be altered without consequence, so its listing was of little consequence. Now we can trust that this unique little watershed will be around for our kids and grandkids.
Posted 02 October 2013 - 07:56 PM
Posted 02 October 2013 - 09:18 PM
I have had similar conversations in bama. This paradigm will shift, eventually, but it probably won't be a bottom-up thing.
I got the impression that FWS is mandated to think in terms of recovery and delisting -- permanent listing is not a concept that the Act recognizes as legitimate, although I'm sure some FWS staff personally recognize that delisting is not rational for certain species. I hope I'm wrong about this, please correct me if so; the FWS staff didnt specifically say this, but they did say that species management plans must be geared toward recovery and delisting.
Posted 03 October 2013 - 01:07 AM
The lesson from the story of Alabama's Spring Pygmy Sunfish is that a concerted effort by a bunch of people can make a difference. (Thanks especially to the land-owners involved here.) One species hopefully has gotten the protections it needs to be saved. It wasn't quick, and it wasn't easy. And there's many other species tottering on the brink, or heading in that direction.
Posted 03 October 2013 - 07:29 AM
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