Action timeline

May 4, 2004 – The Center petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list 225 candidate species, including the Ozark hellbender.

April 20, 2010 – The Center petitioned to list 404 aquatic, riparian and wetland species in the southeastern United States as threatened or endangered, including the hellbender.

September 8, 2010 – The Service issued a proposed rule to list the Ozark hellbender as endangered but refused to designate critical habitat.

November 8, 2010 – The Center filed comments with the Fish and Wildlife Service urging the Service to designate critical habitat for the Ozark hellbender.

July 12, 2011 – The Center reached a landmark agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service compelling the agency to move forward in the protection process for 757 species, including the Ozark and eastern hellbenders.

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

January 31, 2013 – The Center and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agencies’ failure to protect the Ozark hellbender, Hine’s emerald dragonfly, Tumbling Creek cavesnail and two endangered mussels on Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest, where logging, road use and other activities are polluting waterways. 

November 8, 2013 – A draft plan for management of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways released by the Park Service proposes improved waterway protections but falls short of taking the aggressive steps necessary to ensure the long-term survival of rare aquatic species like the endangered Ozark hellbender. 

November 21, 2014 – A coalition of New York scientists, citizens and environmental groups — including the Center — filed a petition asking the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to award state endangered species protection to the eastern hellbender. 

November 25, 2014 – The U.S. Forest Service finalized amendments to the management plan for Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest to protect rare and endangered species, including the Ozark hellbender.

January 2015 – A recently published study provided the first report of a deadly fungal disease in eastern hellbenders in western North Carolina.

Hellbender photo by Ken Roblee, New York Department of Environmental Conservation