CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
<www.biologicaldiversity.org> 10-10-01 #286
AGREEMENT RESULTS IN LISTING OF THREE SPECIES AS
ENDANGERED, PROPOSED LISTING FOR FOURTH
§ SCALESHELL MUSSEL: (AL, AR, IA, IL, IN, KY, MN, MO, OH,
OK, SD, TN, WI
§ OHLONE TIGER BEETLE: CA
§ SPALDING’S CATCHFLY: BC, ID, MT, OR, WA
§ ROTA BRIDLED WHITE-EYE: PACIFIC ISLANDS
§ BONNEVILLE CUTTHROAT TROUT DENIED PROTECTION
§ ESA LISTINGS: CLINTON 62, BUSH 7
Fulfilling an agreement reached with the Center for Biological
Diversity, the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project, and the
California Native Plant Society to issue rapid Endangered Species
Act listing decisions on 29 species from the Pacific Islands to Florida,
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed three western species and one
eastern species as endangered in the past week and published a
proposal to list a pacific island bird. In the weeks prior to this, it listed
two southwestern plants (Holmgren milk-vetch and Shivwitz milk-vetch)
and proposed to list a southwestern butterfly (Sacramento
For more information and maps of the 29 species:
SCALESHELL MUSSEL: 13 EASTERN STATES
The scaleshell mussel was listed as an endangered species on 10-9-01.
It historically occurred in 55 rivers in 13 states within the
Mississippi River Basin. It has declined to just 14 rivers in three
states: the Meramec, Bourbeuse, Big, Gasconade, and Osage Rivers
in Missouri; Frog Bayou and the St. Francis, Spring, South Fork
Spring, South Fourche LaFave, and White Rivers in Arkansas; and
the Little, Mountain Fork, and Kiamichi Rivers in Oklahoma. In 11 of
these rivers, only single or very few mussels have been found.
Scientists hope to find it in six additional rivers (Cossatot, Little
Missouri, Saline, and Strawberry Rivers, and Myatt and Gates
Creeks) in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The scaleshell mussel’s dramatic decline is due to habitat loss, water
pollution, sedimentation, channelization, sand and gravel mining,
dredging, and reservoir construction. It is one of many freshwater
mussel’s and clams approaching extinction in the eastern U.S. As
an assemblage, eastern freshwater bivalves are among the most
endangered species in North America.
As they can not swim upstream, freshwater mussels would eventually
be washed out to sea were it not for an amazing distribution strategy.
They spray their eggs onto the gills and fins of the specific fish
(sometimes luring them with appendages shaped like bait fish).
When the fish swim upstream (barring the presence of dams) the
eggs mature, fall off, and cling onto river bottom cobble, thus keeping
the “immobile” mussels well distributed. The scaleshell mussel has
evolved to use the freshwater drum as it upstream taxi.
OHLONE TIGER BEETLE: CALIFORNIA
The Ohlone tiger beetle was listed as an endangered species on 10-9-01.
It is a colorful, predatory beetle which occurs in only five
locations within Santa Cruz County. It is threatened by suburban
sprawl, including recreational development, and incursion of non-native
species into coastal terrace prairies. Only 2,000 to 10,000
The Center won an earlier lawsuit to obtain a listing proposal for the
beetle which has been waiting for federal protection since 1997.
SPALDING’S CATCHFLY: BC, ID, MT, OR, WA
Spalding’s catchfly, a plant in the carnation family, was listed as
endangered species throughout its range in BC, MT, ID, WA, and OR
on 10-10-01. Only 52 populations remain: seven in west-central
Idaho, seven in northeast Oregon, nine in western Montana, 28 in
eastern Washington, and one in British Columbia. Population sizes
range from one to several thousand, with only 18 containing more
than 50 plants and only six containing more than 500 plants. In
totality, less than 17,000 plants still exist.
Spalding’s catchfly is one many grassland species which has
declined due to urban sprawl, agricultural expansion, fire
suppression, livestock grazing, herbicides, and non-native species
encroachment. Its particular grassland habitat, the Palouse prairie
subdivision of Northwest bunchgrass, has declined by 98%. Some
populations also occur in canyon grasslands.
Following a familiar pattern of delay, the catchfly was first petitioned
for federal listing by the Smithsonian Institution in 1975 and proposed
for federal listing in 1976. Twenty years later, it was still languishing in
bureaucratic limbo, prompting the Biodiversity Legal Foundation and
Montana and Washington Native Plant Societies to file another listing
petition in 1995. After more delays, BLF sued to obtain a proposed
listing rule. After more delays, BLF sued to obtain a final listing rule.
The funds to issue the final listing rule were made available through
the national 29 species listing agreement.
PACIFIC ISLAND BIRD PROPOSED FOR ESA PROTECTION
The Rota bridled white-eye, a bird, was formally proposed for listing
as an endangered species on 10-3-01. It is endemic to the island of
Rota within the Mariana Archipelago under the jurisdiction of the U.S.
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Formerly common in forest throughout the island, the bridled white-eye
has declined by over 90% and is now restricted to just four small
patches of mature forest. It is threatened by habitat fragmentation
from sprawl, agricultural expansion and typhoons.
BONNEVILLE CUTTHROAT TROUT DENIED PROTECTION
On 10-9-01, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced a decision to
not protect the Bonneville cutthroat trout as a federally endangered
species. One of many declining western cutthroat trout species, the
Bonneville has disappeared from streams throughout its range in UT,
WY, ID, and NV. The Fish & Wildlife Service, however, declared that
the 291 remaining populations (occupying 852 stream miles and
70,000 acres of lake habitat) are not threatened with extinction.
As in its politically motivated decisions to not list the Rio Grande,
Yellowstone, and Westslope cutthroat trout, the Service tallied up
every possible population without taking into account their precarious
status. It ignored a recent doctoral dissertation which concluded: "the
majority of isolated populations do not have adequate space for
The Bonneville cutthroat trout was petitioned for federal protection by
the Desert Fishes Council and American Fisheries Society in 1979,
the Desert Fishes Council and the Southern Utah Wilderness
Alliance in 1992, and the Biodiversity Legal Foundation in 1998.
ESA LISTINGS: CLINTON 62, BUSH 7
While the Clinton administration listed 62 species under the
Endangered Species Act by October 10th of its first year in office, the
Bush administration has listed just seven: six in response to petitions,
lawsuits, and agreements with the Center for Biological Diversity and
one in response to a lawsuit by the Biodiversity Legal Foundation.
The Center has protected 121 species and 35.3 million acres of
critical habitat under the ESA since 1993.