For Immediate Release, October 21, 2019

Contact:

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

Trump Administration Delays Lifesaving Protections for Wolverine, Hermes Copper Butterfly, Candy Darter, 43 Other Species

Feds Fall Behind for Third Year on Backlog of Wildlife Needing Protection

WASHINGTON— The Trump administration has failed to make protection decisions for dozens of imperiled species as promised in a workplan developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in late 2016. The plan aims to address a backlog of more than 500 species awaiting protection, including the wolverine and the Sierra Nevada Red Fox.

In total, the administration failed to designate protected critical habitat or to make decisions about whether species should be added to the threatened or endangered lists for 46 species in fiscal year 2019, which ended Sept. 30. This is the third straight year the administration has fallen behind on the backlog of wildlife needing protection.

“Scientists across the world are sounding the alarm over the extinction crisis, yet the Trump administration won’t even let the fire trucks out of the station,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “To have any chance at survival, these species need protection, not more delay.”

Overall, the Trump administration has only protected 19 species and only three in all of fiscal year 2019. This is the lowest of any administration at this point in their term.

The 46 species occur in more than 20 states from Florida to Washington and face a plethora of threats.

The secretive black rail, for example, is rapidly losing coastal marshes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts to sea level rise and development. Whitebark pine is losing its high mountain habitats across the west to climate change and being decimated by an introduced disease. And the yellow-billed cuckoo has lost the streamside cottonwood forests where it lives to the multitude of threats to western rivers, from dams to cows to overuse.

“The double whammy of habitat destruction and climate change is putting species across the country in jeopardy,” said Greenwald. “The Endangered Species Act has saved 99 percent of species under its protection and it can save these plants and animals too, but only if they get the protection they need.”

Scientists recently determined that North America has lost as many as three billion birds in the last 50 years, with many common species having undergone severe declines. One interesting finding of this study is that waterfowl, which have strong regulatory protections for their habitat, actually increased. Likewise, most birds protected under the Endangered Species Act are also stable or improving.

“Despite claims to the contrary from the Trump administration and its polluting industry benefactors, strong laws to protect our land, air, water and wildlife work, particularly if enforced,” said Greenwald. “We’ll definitely go to court to make sure these species get the protection they’re due.”

Table 1. Forty-six species that didn’t get protection decisions in fiscal year 2019. 

Species Name

Action Type

First Scheduled

Range

Atlantic pigtoe

FL, FCH

FY19

GA, NC, SC, VA

Bartram stonecrop

12M

FY18

AZ

Beardless chinch weed

12M

FY18

AZ

Big Creek crayfish

Discretionary Status Review

FY19

MO

Big Cypress epidendrum

12M

FY18

FL

Black pine snake

FCH

FY18

AL, MS, LA

Black rail

FL

FY19

AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TX, VA

Black-capped petrel

FL

FY19

FL, GA, SC, NC, PR, VA, VI

Brawley's Fork crayfish

12M

FY22

TN

California spotted owl

12M

FY19

CA, OR

Candy darter

FCH

FY19

VA, WV

Cape Sable orchid

12M

FY18

FL

Chapin Mesa milkvetch

Proposed Listing Determination

FY18

CO

Donrichardsonia macroneuron (unnamed moss)

12M

FY18

TX

False spike

12M

FY18

TX

Pacific Fisher

FL

FY19

CA, OR, WA

Florida bonneted bat

PCH

FY17

FL

Florida bristle fern

PCH

FY18

FL

Graham's beardtongue

FL

FY19

UT

Bi-state sage grouse

CA, NV

FY19

CA, NV

Guadalupe orb

Discretionary Status Review/PLPCH

FY18

TX

Hermes copper butterfly

Proposed Listing Determination

FY17

CA

Humboldt marten

FL, PCH

FY19

CA, OR

Island marble butterfly

FL, FCH

FY19

WA

Lesser slender salamander

12M

FY19

CA

Louisiana pine snake

PCH

FY19

LA, TX

Meltwater lednian stonefly

Final

FY17

MT, WY

Northern spotted owl

12M/Uplisting

FY17

CA, OR, WA

Panama City crayfish

PCH

FY19

FL

Peppered chub

12M

FY18

CO, KA, NM, OK, TX

Sierra Nevada red fox

Proposed Listing Determination

FY18

CA, OR

Slenderclaw crayfish

FL, FCH

FY19

AL

St. Francis River crayfish

Discretionary Status Review

FY19

MO

Suwannee moccasinshell

PCH

FY18

FL

Texas fatmucket

Proposed Listing Determination

FY18

TX

Texas fawnsfoot

Proposed Listing Determination

FY18

TX

Texas hornshell

PCH

FY19

TX

Texas pimpleback

Proposed Listing Determination

FY18

TX

Trispot darter

FCH, 4D

FY19

AL, TN, GA

Western glacier stonefly

Final

FY17

MT, WY

White River beardtongue

FL

FY19

UT

Whitebark pine

Proposed Listing Determination

FY19

CA, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA, WY

American wolverine

Final Listing Determination

FY18

CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WA, WY

Wright's marsh thistle

Proposed Listing Determination

FY17

NM

Yellow lance

PCH

FY17

MD, NC, SC, VA

Yellow-billed cuckoo

rPCH

FY17

AZ, NM, CA, CO, NV, UT, ID

Key    
12M: 12-month finding determining if species warrants listing
PL: Proposed listing
FL: Final listing
PCH: Proposed critical habitat
FCH: Final critical habitat
Candidate species: A species that has been found to warrant protection, but is waitlisted 
4(d): A rule defining prohibited activities for a threatened species

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.