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NORTHEAST SPECIES THAT NEED US TO GET TO 350 Photo credits
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)
Range: In Maine, at least encompasses Dennys, East Machias, Machias, Pleasant, Narraguagus, Ducktrap, Kennebec, and Sheepscot rivers, as well as Cove Brook
The Atlantic salmon is called the “king of fish” for its streamlined and powerful beauty. Members of the species undertake an epic journey to complete their life cycle, migrating from freshwater rivers to feeding grounds in the North Atlantic Ocean, and then returning to natal streams to spawn. In fewer than 300 years, its numbers have decreased by 90 percent. Hotter river waters are dangerous for these cold-water fish during spawning and growth of eggs and young. More rainfall in the northeastern United States during winter due to climate will lead to higher flows that can scour streambeds and destroy salmon eggs. Changing ocean conditions may affect salmon’s ability to find sufficient food before returning to rivers to spawn.

In 2008, the Center and the Conservation Law Foundation of New England filed suit to designate critical habitat for the Gulf of Maine Atlantic salmon population, and in response, the Service proposed to protect 126,623 river miles and 214,487 acres of lakes.
Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis)
Range: Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin (contiguous U.S. distinct population segment)
Canada lynx are made for hunting in deep snow, with thick cushions of hair on the soles of their feet that act like built-in snowshoes. Appropriately enough, this adaptation helps them stalk their favorite prey, the snowshoe hare — unlike any other cat, the Canada lynx relies almost exclusively on the snowshoe hare for food. The lynx’s ability to hunt its favorite prey is intertwined with snow conditions. And deep snow plays another role in the lynx’s survival by excluding its main competitors for prey — coyotes and bobcats — and allowing the lynx to escape its own predator, the mountain lion. But warming winters can affect the texture, depth, and extent of snow cover. Climate change may also impact survival of the lynx’s primary habitat — boreal and alpine forests.

Thanks to a Center lawsuit, a judge ruled in 2008 that Minnesota was in violation of the Endangered Species Act by allowing traps that harm and kill Canada lynx.
Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel (Sciurus niger cinereus)
Range: southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey
The Delmarva Fox Squirrel is an endangered subspecies of fox squirrel whose historical range included the Delmarva Peninsula, southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. The squirrel’s range has been reduced by 90% and it’s now only found on the Delmarva Peninsula in Maryland. Like all fox squirrels, the Delmarva has a full, fluffy tail. The Delmarva fox squirrel is frosty silver to slate gray with a white belly and can grow to be 30 inches long with 15 inches of tail! Their preferred habitat is mature forest of both hardwood and pine trees with an open, park-like understory.

Climate change is predicted to more frequently bring consecutive years with similar weather patterns including drought conditions. One study found that a climate trend towards longer periods of unfavorable conditions for fox squirrels could increase the extinction risk of isolated populations.
Eastern moose (Alces alces americana)
Range: From Maine and Nova Scotia west through Quebec and central Ontario, and from Hudson Bay south to the Great Lakes
The name moose is derived from the Algonquian Eastern Abnaki word moz, which loosely translates to “twig eater.” The animal called “moose” in North America and “common elk” in Europe is the largest extant species in the deer family. An adult moose can be as tall as seven feet at the shoulder, and males weigh between 850 and 1,580 pounds. Moose are distinguished by the males’ palmate antlers — in which the lobes radiate from a common area. Other members of the deer family have antlers with a twig-like configuration.

Warming temperatures have contributed to an explosion of white-tailed deer population in some areas, which carry a parasitic worm that’s devastating to moose. Global warming is also allowing dog ticks to expand northward in Maine, which hurts moose in the Northeast. Finally, hot weather causes moose to rest more and forage less — and moose depend on summer foraging to survive the winters.
Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostrus)
Range: Florida
Manatees, sometimes referred to as sea cows, are large, aquatic marine mammals related to elephants that spend much of their time resting and gently grazing on seagrasses and other vegetation in warm, shallow waters. The population of manatees in Florida is thought to be between 1,000 and 3,000, and they’ve been known to live up to 60 years. The leading cause of death is boat strikes, which kill manatees and leave propeller wounds on the survivors. The number of manatee deaths in Florida caused by humans has been increasing, and now typically accounts for 20 to 40 percent of recorded deaths. Sea-level rise and changes in water flow that increase water turbidity threaten the manatee’s main food source of seagrasses that grow in shallow, relatively clear waters. Hurricane intensity and storm surge will increase with climate change, which may directly kill manatees or impact their food supply, leading to impaired manatee health and reproduction.

In response to a petition by the Center and allies, in 2009 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed that new habitat protections may be warranted for the manatee.
Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Range: Tropical reefs of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans
The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle is the only species in its genus. Its distinguishing feature: the sharp, curving, beak-like mouth from which it gets its common name. Its chosen prey includes sea sponges, which are highly toxic and can be lethal when eaten by other creatures — but not for the hawksbill. Human fishing practices and the use of hawskbill shells for tortoiseshell trinkets have resulted in the hawksbill facing the possibility of extinction. Global warming threatens the hawksbill in several ways: Rising sea levels may inundate nesting beaches; increased sand temperatures can lead to changes in the sex ratio of hatchling turtles; warming ocean temperatures are leading to mass coral bleaching, damaging reef habitats where turtles feed; and changes in ocean current can alter turtle migrations paths and feeding patterns.

The Center works hard to stop longline fishing practices that ensnare the hawksbill and other sea turtles.
Human being (Homo sapiens)
Range: Global
Homo sapiens, the Latin name for the modern human species, means “wise man.” Modern humans evolved in east Africa about 200,000 years ago. As of 2009, there are more than 6.8 billion of us on Earth. Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection and problem solving, but can they put these qualities to use when it comes to the man-made challenge posed by global warming?

Health and climate scientists believe that global warming is already responsible for some 150,000 deaths each year, and they fear that the number may well double by 2030. Global warming also contributes to some 5 million human illnesses every year. Some of the ways global warming negatively affects human health — especially in poorer nations — include: speeding the spread of infectious diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever; creating conditions that lead to potentially fatal malnutrition and diarrhea; and increasing the frequency and severity of heat waves, floods, and other weather-related disasters. Studies have also found a direct link between rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and increased human mortality. Added air pollution caused by each degree Celsius increase in temperature caused by CO2 leads to about 1,000 additional deaths in the United States and many more cases of respiratory illness and asthma.
Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)
Range: Midwestern, southern, and eastern United States, from the Ozarks to Vermont and from northern Florida to southern Wisconsin
The Indiana bat is one of the rarest and most vulnerable of its kind. Every year, Indiana bats gather in “swarms” at chosen hibernating spots to mate, swooping in and out of caves from dusk till dawn. The species’ long-term decline began in the early 1800s as its wintering sites or “hibernacula” were disturbed by mining, tourism, and other activities. In the decades since, these bats have been hit hard by habitat loss — and in 2007 a perplexing and deadly new threat to bats, called white-nose syndrome, first appeared in the Northeast and began killing hundreds of thousands of the animals, including Indiana bats. Global warming could boost temperatures inside the limestone caves these bats use for roosting, contributing to winter weight loss and higher mortality rates for the bats.

After a January 2008 Center petition, the Forest Service closed all caves and abandoned mines in 33 eastern and southern states to help stop the spread of white-nose syndrome and protect endangered bats, including the Indiana bats.
Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis)
Range: Primarily Wisconsin; scattered populations throughout the Midwest and Northeast
The official state butterfly of New Hampshire, the Karner blue was first identified and named by novelist and lepidopterist Vladimir Nabokov. Its name originates from Karner, New York, where it was first discovered. This beautiful little butterfly’s lifecycle depends on the wild blue lupine flower, which itself is endangered. In 2000, the Karner blue was found to be extirpated in Canada. Rising temperatures may hurt Karner blues by increasing heat stress, influencing reproductive success, and causing the earlier die-off of its lupine host plant. In one laboratory experiment, signs of heat stress started at 96 degrees Fahrenheit for females and 98 degrees for males.
Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)
Range: All tropical and subtropical oceans, as far south as the southernmost tip of New Zealand and as far north as the Arctic Circle
As ancient as the dinosaurs, leatherback sea turtles are the heaviest reptiles on the planet. In addition to longlines and gillnets, these remarkable creatures face the threat of global warming. Rising sea levels, increased sand temperatures, and stronger storms threaten the sandy beaches the turtles use to nest. Shifting currents may alter the ocean’s upwelling patterns, which turtles depend on for food. And because turtles lack sex chromosomes, their genes don‘t determine whether a hatchling is male or female. Instead, buried eggs take their cue from the ambient temperature. With a mere two-degree increase over 29 degrees Celsius, a nest will produce all females — a few degrees higher, and eggs won‘t hatch at all. To maintain a viable breeding population, a cool, male-producing year must come at least once every five to 10 years.

Since leatherbacks are particularly imperiled in the Pacific Ocean, in 2007 the Center petitioned to obtain critical habitat for leatherbacks off California and Oregon. In 2009, we filed a notice of intent to sue to speed habitat protection.
Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
Range: Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans
Loggerhead sea turtles make some of the longest known journeys of any sea turtle species, each year migrating more than 7,500 miles between nesting beaches in Japan and feeding grounds off the coast of Mexico. Along the way, they must navigate past millions of longline hooks, which catch and kill thousands of sea turtles, seabirds, marine mammals, and sharks. Gillnet fisheries likewise entangle and drown many loggerheads. Making matters much worse, rising sea levels due to global warming threaten to destroy Florida’s nesting beaches, and rising temperatures could dramatically tilt the balance of male and female turtles being hatched, endangering the species’ reproductive abilities. This is because turtles’ gender is determined by temperature; in warmer weather, there are fewer males born, and with a temperature just two degrees higher than 29 degrees Celsius, almost all hatchlings are females.

The Center has repeatedly litigated to curtail commercial fishing practices harming the loggerhead. Following one lawsuit, longline fishing for swordfish was prohibited along the West Coast. In 2007, we petitioned to list North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles as endangered, as well as to increase protections in key nesting habitat.
North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis)
Range: Atlantic Ocean, particularly between 20° and 60° latitude.
The North Atlantic right whale’s scientific name is Eubalaena glacialis, which means “good, or true, whale of the ice.” About 400 of these whales live in the North Atlantic Ocean, migrating between feeding grounds in the Gulf of Maine and calving areas in Georgia and Florida. Dangerously, their paths collide with heavily used shipping routes, and between 1970 and 1999, 35.5 percent of recorded right whale deaths were attributed to ship strikes. North Atlantic right whales are also threatened by climate change because they appear to have better calf survival when Calanus copepod prey are abundant, and climate change influences the abundance of this prey species.

To protect the North Atlantic right whale, the Center petitioned for critical habitat for the species in 2009.
Piping plover (Charadrius melodus)
Range: Atlantic Coast of United States and Canada, Great Lakes
Thanks to their sand-colored plumage and stop-and-go dashes across dunes, piping plovers are usually heard before they’re seen. But their camouflage means they’re vulnerable to off-road vehicles and other threats, which have made them among the rarest shorebirds in North America. Off-road vehicles, which ruin habitat, crush nests and eggs, and directly kill birds. Climate change poses a growing threat to the piping plover. Many plovers nest on the U.S. Atlantic Coast, and all plovers winter along the beaches and dunes of the southern Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean coastlines. Sea-level rise and storm intensification threaten to inundate the piping plover’s coastal breeding and foraging habitat; degrade the quality of habitat for foraging, nesting, and cover; and alter the composition and availability of prey species.

To save piping plovers, the Center has been working hard to keep off-road vehicles out of precious habitat through our Off-road Vehicles campaign. We also filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for inadequately protecting piping plover habitat.
Robbins cinquefoil (Potentilla robbinsiana)
Range: White Mountains Presidential Range of New Hampshire
The rare Robbins’ cinquefoil was once truly on the brink of extinction. A member of the rose family, Robbins’ cinquefoil — which is also called the dwarf cinquefoil — occurs only in the alpine zone of the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. It was heavily impacted by plant collectors and hikers along the Appalachian Trail, and when the plant received Endangered Species Act protection in 1980, only 3,700 specimens were known to exist. After intensive recovery efforts, in 2002 the population totaled more than 14,000 plants — but once again it’s threatened, and this time by global warming.

The Robbin’s cinquefoil has very special habitat requirements: It relies on freeze-thaw cycles that eliminate other plants trying to compete with it. Changes in these freeze-thaw cycles caused by global warming could eliminate this plant’s chances to thrive.
Seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus)
Range: U.S. Atlantic Coast barrier islands
Seabeach amaranth is restricted to the barrier island beaches of the U.S. Atlantic Coast. There are currently only 55 known populations — the plant has been eliminated from two-thirds of its historic range. Numerous shorebirds, including the endangered piping plover, nest in amaranth stands. Beachfront development, off-road vehicles, and hurricanes have degraded amaranth populations.

Since being federally protected as threatened in 1993, seabeach amaranth is making a tenuous comeback. However, its dependence on beach habitat and the small number of its populations make this species vulnerable to catastrophic events; sea-level rise and increased storms due to climate change threaten the beach sites where it grows.
Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus)
Range: Arctic regions of both the old and new worlds
The snowy owl was first classified as a species in 1758. This large, white-feathered tundra dweller relies primarily on lemmings for food, but will take advantage of larger prey, including rabbits and foxes. It can eat more than 1,600 lemmings per year. The snowy owl is an extremely important component of the food web in the tundra ecosystem. Already, climate change may be threatening the snowy owl's primary prey — the lemming. In Norway, changes in temperature and humidity affecting snowpack may have interrupted the regular boom-and-bust cycle of lemming populations, making this food source less predictable for the owls. In addition, researchers have recently discovered that snowy owls may use Arctic sea-ice habitat extensively in winter for hunting sea ducks. The melting of the sea ice may impact the owl’s ability to hunt in winter.
Wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta)
Range: Northeastern United States and southeastern Canada
Not surprisingly, the wood turtle spends most of its time in wooded areas. It is, however, also semi-aquatic and dependent on streams, rivers, and ponds. A great escape artist and climber, this species has been known to systematically probe fenced-in areas to find a means of escape. In a series of maze experiments back in 1932, researchers concluded that the North American wood turtle had the learning capacity of a rat. Unfortunately, climate change may hurt wood turtles through increasing the frequency of flood events. Seasonal floods have been documented to displace northeastern wood turtles and cause higher mortality.

In 2009, the Center joined local groups in petitioning the Ohio governor, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Health to ban turtle harvesting in the state, whose northeastern corner is home to the wood turtle.