CORE Consultants Inc. (CORE) presents two recent federal changes in listing status of wildlife species: Eastern Black Rail and the American Burying Beetle.
UNLISTED TO THREATENED
Eastern Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis jamaicensis)
On October 8, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) determined Threatened status for the Eastern Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis jamaicensis) subspecies; this subspecies was previously unlisted. Under the Final Rule, the USFWS also provides measures under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act that are specific to the conservation needs of this subspecies. The 4(d) rule does not include a monitoring requirement for this listing because methods and techniques for monitoring may change over time based on improved knowledge. The 4(d) rule describes limitations to various activities that could potentially result in incidental take, including prescribed fire, mowing, haying, and permanent conversion of wetland habitats.
Eastern Black Rail is a secretive bird species of coastal and inland marshes that is most active during the night. In the listing of Eastern Black Rail, USFWS determined that “habitat loss and destruction, sea level rise and tidal flooding, incompatible land management, and increasing storm intensity and frequency” currently pose the greatest threats to the subspecies.
States in which listing is most relevant: Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and the Atlantic Coast from Connecticut to Florida. Also nests locally and rarely in Minnesota, Michigan, and other Great Lakes, Midwestern, and Mid-Atlantic states.
Activities with potential to affect species: Wind farm, solar farm, pipeline, prescribed fire, habitat conversion to agriculture, coastal development.
Effective: November 9, 2020
View the Complete Final Rule
DOWN-LISTED ENDANGERED TO THREATENED
American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)
On October 15, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reclassified the American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) from endangered to threatened on the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. A rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act was also finalized to provide specific measures for conservation of the species. The 4(d) rule “prohibits all intentional take of the American Burying Beetle,” but only prohibits incidental take in three specific geographic areas within the species’ current known range.
In the New England and Northern Plains portions of American Burying Beetle range, incidental take is only prohibited when take is a result of soil disturbance. In the Southern Plains portion of the range, incidental take is only prohibited on specific conservation lands, as defined within the Final Rule. Activities conducted with USFWS-approved conservation plans that result in take of American burying beetle on the specified conservation lands are not prohibited.
States in which listing is most relevant: Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Texas. Reintroduced populations exist in Massachusetts and Missouri.
Activities with potential to affect species: Wind farm, solar farm, pipeline, pesticide application, land use changes, and other activities that disturb natural soil and vegetation.
Effective: November 16, 2020
View the Complete Final Rule