The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
American Eel May Warrant Protection Under Endangered Species Act
The American eel may need federal protection as a threatened or endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced Sept. 28, following an initial review of a petition seeking to protect the species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The decision, commonly known as a 90-day finding, is based on scientific information about the eel provided in a 2010 petition from the Council for Endangered Species Act Reliability and in the Service’s files.
The U.S. FWS will begin an extensive status review for the American eel to determine if adding the species to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife is warranted. A previous status review was conducted in 2007, finding that federal protection under the ESA was not warranted. The 2010 petition includes some information that became available after the 2007 review.
The American eel, found in freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats from Greenland to South America, has been extirpated from portions of its historical freshwater habitat during the last 100 years, mostly resulting from dams built through the 1960s. Habitat loss and degradation, harvest and turbine mortality have also contributed to some local population declines.
The species’ unique life cycle, including its breeding phase in the Sargasso Sea, presents challenges to understanding and assessing biological and environmental processes that influence eels. New information indicates that changes in ocean conditions may be negatively impacting the eel’s reproduction rates.
The U.S. FWS is particularly seeking the following types of new information not known at the time of the 2007 status review—species’ population structure (panmixia), range-wide analysis of impacts from the parasitic nematode Anguillicola crassus, statistically significant long-term glass eel recruitment declines, and the correlation of climate change and glass eel recruitment.
Written comments on the proposed rule may be submitted by one of the following methods:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: click here. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. [FWS-R5-ES-2011-0067].
• U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. [FWS-R5-ES-2011-0067]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
Comments must be received within 60 days, on or before Nov. 28. The U.S. FWS will post all comments here. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.
The ESA provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. The U.S. FWS is working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. For more information about the Endangered Species Program, click here.
For more information, click here.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.
More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week ok the 'emergency' use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?
EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, "that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn't be allowed to spray."
By Sharon Kelly
On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
By Craig K. Chandler
The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.
By Dan Gray
Processed foods, in their many delicious forms, are an American favorite.
But new research shows that despite increasing evidence on just how unhealthy processed foods are, Americans have continued to eat the products at the same rate.