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Action timeline

1998 – The Center filed petitions to protect the Chiricahua leopard frog and Gila chub as endangered species. Instead of issuing findings in response to these petitions, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dubbed the species “candidates” for listing with no explanation. Following a Center court win on the issue in 2001, the Service protected both species — and from that point on made sure to include more detail in its findings on candidate species.

2000-2002 – The Center petitioned for the Tahoe yellow cress, southern Idaho ground squirrel and dunes sagebrush lizard, to which the Service denied protection without even issuing individual findings. When the Center challenged that move in court, a judge found that even if the Service was relying on the more detailed findings in its annual candidate notice of review, it hadn’t justified delaying protection for the three species. But instead of protecting the species, the Service issued a new, more detailed finding that continued to put off protection. 

2004 – The Center petitioned for 225 candidate species, requiring the Service to include more detailed findings in its annual candidate notice of review — as well as applying additional pressure to protect all 225 species. The Center was joined in the petition by Jane Goodall, E.O. Wilson, Barbara Kingsolver and other luminaries. 

2006 – The Center and allies filed suit in Washington, D.C., arguing that the continued delay of protection for roughly 280 candidate species was illegal because the Service was failing to make expeditious progress listing any of these species. 

2007 – The Center worked out a deal in principle with the Service to make protection decisions for all candidate species, plus hundreds of other species for which petitions had been filed. The deal, however, was never enacted and was rumored to have been nixed by a top Interior Department lawyer.

2009 – The Center and allies sent a letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service asking for new negotiations over all the candidate species and proposing a four-year schedule for listing them, as well as processing existing petitions.

2010 – The Center filed suit over the Service’s failure to respond to petitions to protect 93 species, including the California golden trout, plains bison, black-footed albatross, 42 Great Basin springsnails and dozens of other species. In response to litigation and pressure from the Center, the Fish and Wildlife Service finally proposed protection for the dunes sagebrush lizard.

July 12, 2011 – The Center reached a landmark agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service that mandated protection decisions for 757 species, including the Pacific walrus, American wolverine, Mt. Charleston blue butterfly, Pacific fisher, yellow-billed cuckoo and Kittlitz’s murrelet.

July – August 2011 – In accordance with the agreement, the Service began moving species toward protection, including making rules for the Pagosa skyrocket, parachute beardtongue and DeBeque phacelia. The agency also proposed protection for 23 Hawaii species (19 being part of our agreement) the Chupadera springsnail and five southeastern fish species.

August 8, 2011 – As part of our agreement and a 2004 petition, the Service protected five southeastern fish species as endangered: the Cumberland darter, chucky madtom, laurel dace, rush darter and yellowcheek darter.

August 9, 2011 – The Service issued an emergency order protecting the Miami blue butterfly, in accordance with our agreement and in response to our 2011 petition.

September 9, 2011 – A federal judge approved the landmark 757 species legal agreement between the Center for Biological Diversity and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

September 2011 – The Service determined that 32 springsnail species in Nevada, Utah and California may qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Service also issued a final rule protecting Casey’s June beetle as an endangered species and designating 587 acres of critical habitat for it in Riverside County, Calif. Both actions were in accordance to our agreement and in response to petitions we filed.

September 26, 2011 – In response to our 2010 petition and 2011 notice of intent to sue for more than 400 Southeast species, the Service found that protection of 374 freshwater species in 12 southeastern states may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act.
October 3, 2011 – The Service proposed to protect eight species of freshwater mussels in Alabama and Florida and proposed to designate nearly 1,500 miles of streams and rivers as critical habitat for the species. The eight proposed mussels were included in our legal settlement.

October 4, 2011 – The Service determined that 26 species of Pacific Northwest snails and slugs might warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act due to our settlement. The 26 species were some of the 32 imperiled Northwest mollusks we’d petitioned to list in 2008.

October 5, 2011 – The Service issued a final rule listing the Ozark hellbender as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act as part of our 757 species agreement. 

October 7, 2011 – The Service designated the Altamaha spinymussel as endangered and proposed to protect 148 river miles of critical habitat as the result of our legal settlement.

October 12, 2011 – The Service proposed to protect a rare, recently discovered Puerto Rican tree frog named the coquí llanero as an endangered species and to designate more than 600 acres of freshwater wetland as critical habitat. The decision came out of our landmark 757 species settlement.

October 25, 2011 – Due to our settlement, the Obama administration issued a new “candidate notice of review” identifying 244 plants and animals that need the protections of the Endangered Species Act to avoid extinction. 

January 9, 2012 – The Centerand Save Our Springs Alliance formally notified the Serviceof our intent to sue the agency for failing to provide emergency Endangered Species Act protection to a rare Texas animal, the Jollyville Plateau salamander, which was included in our 757 agreement.

January 23, 2012 – In response to our 2010 petition and as part of the settlement, the Service announced that Endangered Species Act protection might be warranted for the scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper, or ‘i‘iwi.

February 13, 2012 – Following our agreement, the Service protected two colorfully named mussel species, the snuffbox and the rayed bean, under the Endangered Species Act.

February 22, 2012 – Under our settlement, the Service announced that it would evaluate whether to protect the Oregon spotted frog under the Endangered Species Act and requested information from experts and the public. 

March 12, 2012 – In accordance with our settlement, the Service protected two colorfully named mussel species, the sheepnose and the spectaclecase, under the Endangered Species Act. Both mussels were once common across the eastern United States but are now found in only a handful of rivers. 

April 16, 2012 –  In accordance with our agreement, the Service protected two tiny Southwestern springsnails under the Endangered Species Act and protected 19 acres of critical habitat for their remaining springs. The species are the Three Forks springsnail (petitioned for by the Center in 200) and the San Bernardino springsnail.

May 14, 2012 – Due to our settlement, the Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for two plants, the Umtanum desert buckwheat and White Bluffs bladderpod, found only in Washington’s Hanford Reach National Monument, as well as proposing to designate critical habitat.

June 4, 2012 –  In response to our petition and as a result of our 757-species agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that the Mt. Rainier and southern subspecies of white-tailed ptarmigans may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act and initiated a status review.

June 8, 2012 – In response to our settlement, the Service proposed to protect 35 plants and three tree snails on the Hawaiian islands of Molokai, Lanai and Maui under the Endangered Species Act. 

July 11, 2012 – As the result of our settlement, the Service protected the Chupadera springsnail as endangered and designated about two acres of critical habitat essential for its conservation.

July 23, 2012 – The service declared that another snail, the Sonoran talussnail, may warrant Endangered Species Act protection due to our agreement.

August 15, 2012 –  In accordance with our agreement, the Serviceproposed Endangered Species Act protection for six species of invertebrates that live in two sets of springs in drought-parched West Texas: the Phantom Cave snail, Phantom springsnail, diminutive amphipod, Diamond Y Spring snail, Gonzales springsnail and Pecos amphipod.

September 10, 2012 – Due to our agreement, the Service proposed two rare East Texas plants for protection as endangered: the Texas golden gladecress and Neches River rose mallow, also proposing to designate 1,541 acres of protected critical habitat for the plants in Cherokee, Harrison, Houston, Nacognoches, Sabine, San Augustine and Trinity counties.

September 17, 2012 – The Service finalized protection for 23 species on the Hawaiian island of Oahu under the Endangered Species Act as a result of our settlement. The agency also designated 42,804 acres (67 square miles) of protected critical habitat for the species, which include 20 plants and three damselflies.

September 26, 2012 – According to our agreement, the Service proposed protection for the grotto sculpin fish and the Mount Charleston blue butterfly.

October 1, 2012 – Due to the Center's settlement with the Service, the agency proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the spring pygmy sunfish.

October 2, 2012 – The Service proposed federal protection for two rare Arizona cacti along with 102,906 acres (161 square miles) of proposed critical habitat to conserve the species. The proposal to protect the Acuña cactus and Fickeisen plains cactus results from our 2011 settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity requiring the agency to speed protection decisions for 757 species across the country. The Center petitioned for protection for the two cacti in 2004.

October 2, 2012 – In accordance with our settlement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle, a half-inch-long beetle that lives only in southern Utah. The Service also proposed to protect 2,200 acres of critical habitat for the beetle in Kane County, Utah.

October 3, 2012 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would protect a rare, recently discovered Puerto Rican frog, the coquí llanero, as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The protection includes 615 acres of freshwater wetland as critical habitat in northern Puerto Rico. 

October 3, 2012 – The Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for two species of freshwater mussels in the Tennessee River watershed, including the proposed designation of 1,380 river miles of critical habitat in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia. The decisions to protect the slabside pearlymussel and fluted kidneyshell were a result of our settlement.

October 3, 2012 – The Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the Florida bonneted bat, the largest, rarest bat in the state, in accordance with our settlement agreement.

October 9, 2012 – The Service extended Endangered Species Act protection to eight species of freshwater mussels and 1,494 miles of stream in Alabama and Florida today, following our agreement.

October 11, 2012 – The Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for Florida plants threatened by sea-level rise: the aboriginal prickly apple, Florida semaphore cactus and Cape Sable thoroughwort. The agency also proposed to designate 8,565 acres as protected critical habitat for the Cape Sable thoroughwort.

October 12, 2012 – The Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the streaked horned lark and Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly.

October 15, 2012 – The Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for two freshwater mussels and finalized 229 river miles of habitat protection for five fish in four Southeast states.

October 16, 2012 – The Service proposed protection for 15 Hawaiian species (13 plants, a picture-wing fly and an anchialine pool shrimp), as well as designating 19,000 acres of critical habitat.

November 20, 2012 For the first time since 1996, the number of plants and animals waiting for federal protection dropped below 200, highlighting the success our agreement. According to the 2012 “candidate notice of review” released today by the Service, 192 species are awaiting Endangered Species Act protection. 

January 4, 2013 – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a challenge by Safari Club International of our historic agreement, finding that Safari Club lacked standing, in part because the agreement, in requiring timely action to protect species, is clearly consistent with the Endangered Species Act.

February 1, 2013As a result of our agreement, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the American wolverine.

February 8, 2013 – The Fish and Wildlife Service released a four-year work plan detailing the years in which all the not-yet-protected species in our agreement would get protective decisions or critical habitat designations. 

May 24, 2013 – In response to our settlement, the Service protected 35 plants and three tree snails on the Hawaiian islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Kahoolawe under the Endangered Species Act.

May 23, 2013 – In accordance with our settlement agreement , theService today proposed to protect Kentucky glade cress under the Endangered Species Act, along with 2,053 acres of critical habitat

July 8, 2013 – In accordance with our settlement agreement, the Service protected six aquatic invertebrates from west Texas as endangered species (along with 450 acres of critical habitat): Phantom springsnails, Phantom Cave snails, Diamond springsnails, Gonzales springsnails, diminutive amphipods and Pecos amphipods.

August 1, 2013 – Following our agreement, the Service proposed to protect three flowers under the Endangered Species Act — Short’s bladderpod, fleshy-fruit gladecress and whorled sunflowers, found in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee — along with 2,488 acres of protected “critical” habitat for the plants.

August 14, 2013  – Following our agreement, the Service proposed to protect two butterflies in south Florida under the Endangered Species Act, along with 17,546 acres of critical habitat. 

September 16, 2013 –  The Service finalized Endangered Species Act protection for two freshwater mussels, the Neosho mucket mussel and the rabbitsfoot mussel, following our agreement . The Neosho mucket mussel was listed as endangered, while the rabbitsfoot mussel was listed as threatened. 

September 25, 2013 – TheService finalized Endangered Species Act protection for two species of freshwater mussels in the Tennessee River watershed, including 1,380 river miles of critical habitat in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia. The decisions to protect the slabside pearlymussel and fluted kidneyshell resulted from our 2011 757 species settlement.

September 24, 2013 – In accordance with our settlement,  the Service protected a rare cave- and stream-dwelling fish found only in Perry County, Mo., under the Endangered Species Act, but decided against protecting any critical habitat for the fish based on a newly developed conservation plan.

September 23, 2013 – The Center reached a legal agreement requiring the Fish and Wildlife Service to make a decision on Endangered Species Act protections for the Sierra Nevada red fox, the eastern hellbender, the boreal toad,  MacGillivray’s seaside sparrow, the Florida Keys mole skink, the Bicknell’s thrush, and three Southeast freshwater species — the bridled darter, Panama City crayfish and Suwannee moccasinshell mussel.

October 2, 2013 – The Service protected the streaked horned lark and Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly under the Endangered Species Act as part of our historic settlement agreement. It  proposed Endangered Species Act protectionfor two flowers from Miami-Dade County — Florida brickell-bush and Carter’s small-flowered flax — as well as 2,707 acres of critical habitat. It also  proposed protection for the yellow-billed cuckoo and the the northern long-eared bat. In another action following our agreement, the Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the yellow-billed cuckoo.

October 23, 2013 – As part of our settlement, the Service announced Endangered Species Act protection for three Florida plants threatened by sea-level rise: the aboriginal prickly appleFlorida semaphore cactus and Cape Sable thoroughwort.

October 23, 2013 – In accordance with our agreement, theService proposed Endangered Species Act protection for two prairie butterflies in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, the Dakota skipper and Poweshiek skipperling. The proposal included 39,035 acres of critical habitat.

October 25, 2013 – As the result of our settlement, the Service proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the “bi-state” population of the greater sage grouse found in the Mono Basin of California and Nevada. The agency also proposed designating 1,868,017 acres of protected “critical habitat” to help the population, which had declined by up to 70 percent.

December 11, 2013  The Center launched a press release ona plan by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) to chair a House Natural Resources Committee hearing the next day to orchestrate yet another spurious and highly partisan attack on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for doing its job — protecting rapidly declining species under the Endangered Species Act — this time, by attacking the agency's 757 agreement with the Center. The hearing would be the sixth one held to criticize our agreement.

Scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper banner photo by C.R. Kohley, courtesy of the State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife's Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project