The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
374 Southeast Species Move Toward Endangered Species Act Protection
In response to a 2010 scientific petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found Sept. 26 that protection of 374 freshwater species in 12 southeastern states may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision was made in accordance with a historic settlement agreement reached this summer between the Center and the government to push 757 of the country’s least protected, but most imperiled, species toward ESA protection.
“With today’s finding that 374 southeastern freshwater species will be considered for Endangered Species Act protection, it’s clear the Fish and Wildlife Service is finally taking action to help hundreds of American species that desperately need a lifeline,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the center. “Like so many species in our ever-more crowded world, these 374 species face a multitude of threats to their survival—habitat destruction, pollution, climate change and pressure from invasive species.”
The 374 species include 89 species of crayfish and other crustaceans, 81 plants, 78 mollusks, 51 butterflies, moths, caddisflies and other insects, 43 fish, 13 amphibians, 12 reptiles, four mammals and three birds. They are found in 12 states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Included among the 374 species are the Florida sandhill crane, streamside salamander, Alabama map turtle, beautiful crayfish, clam-shell orchid, cobblestone tiger beetle, frecklebelly madtom and the Canoe Creek pigtoe.
“The Southeast is home to more freshwater species than anywhere else in the world. Tragically, the region has already lost many of them to extinction,” Greenwald said. “Endangered Species Act protection for these remaining species will help stem the tide of extinction and herald the beginning of a new era of species protection in the Southeast.”
As documented in the petition, southeastern freshwater species are threatened by many forces that have altered—and continue to alter—the region’s waterways, such as dams, pollution, sprawl, poor agricultural practices, invasive species and a warming climate.
“Protecting these species will also protect rivers and streams that are a source of drinking water and recreation for Southeast communities,” said Greenwald. “Endangered Species Act protection will not just save these species from extinction, but benefit millions of people.”
Groups that joined the center on the petition included Alabama Rivers Alliance, The Clinch Coalition, Dogwood Alliance, Gulf Restoration Network, Tennessee Forests Council and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy.
For more information, click here.
For a copy of today’s finding, more information on our campaign to address the Southeast freshwater extinction crisis, a copy of the petition, a list of species by state and a slideshow of a sample of the species, please click here.
For more information on our landmark settlement agreement, please click here.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The annual Arctic thaw has kicked off with record-setting ice melt and sea ice loss that is several weeks ahead of schedule, scientists said, as the New York Times reported.
'This Should Scare the Hell Out of You': Photo of Greenland Sled Dog Teams Walking on Melted Water Goes Viral
By Jon Queally
In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.
By Tia Schwab
It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.
'Huge Victory' for Grassroots Climate Campaigners as NY Lawmakers Reach Deal on Sweeping Climate Legislation
By Julia Conley
Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.
Tens of Thousands Flee Extreme Heatwave in India as Temperatures Topping 120°F Kill Dozens Across Country
By Julia Conley
Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.
By Will J. Grant
In an ideal world, people would look at issues with a clear focus only on the facts. But in the real world, we know that doesn't happen often.
People often look at issues through the prism of their own particular political identity — and have probably always done so.