For Immediate Release, May 31, 2011
Contact: Ileene Anderson, (323) 654-5943 office, (323) 490-0223 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
Riverside Fairy Shrimp to Get Nearly Tenfold Increase in Habitat Protection
LOS ANGELES— As a result of a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed 2,984 acres as protected critical habitat for the Riverside fairy shrimp in areas stretching from Ventura to San Diego County. This is a nearly tenfold increase over the 306 acres designated by the Bush administration in 2005.
“This critical habitat gives the unique Riverside fairy shrimp a shot at survival,” said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center. “But the designation still doesn’t contain all the areas where the fairy shrimp is found — instead it’s the minimum this species needs to survive.”
The Riverside fairy shrimp occurs in relatively deep, ephemeral wetlands, also known as vernal pools, that fill after winter and spring rains. Like other fairy shrimp, it can survive the drying of its habitat as “resting eggs” and can even survive through the digestive tracts of birds and other animals. The fairy shrimp feeds on algae, bacteria, protozoa, rotifers and bits of detritus, and is described in today’s proposed rule as “a cornerstone in the food web for a wide array of aquatic and terrestrial species.”
“Protection of vernal pools will not only benefit the Riverside fairy shrimp but an important variety of wetland-dependent species in Southern California,” Anderson said.
Critical habitat is essential to identify and safeguard the habitat necessary to allow for recovery of the species. Species with designated critical habitat are more than twice as likely to be recovering as those without it.