Monday, April 5, 2010

Forty-Eight Kauai Species Added to the Federal Endangered Species List

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recently added 48 species found only on the island of Kauai to the federal endangered species list. In addition, 47 critical habitats (26,582 acres in six different ecosystem types) were designated for the newly listed species.

The listed species include 45 Plants, 2 Birds, and 1 Insect. As examples, below are photographs of the Akikiki (endangered spec.) and Waimea Canyon (critical habitat), courtesy of the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.

The Fish and Wildlife Service in the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-Fisheries in the Department of Commerce share responsibility for administration of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The purpose of the ESA is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. An “endangered” species is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. It is unlawful “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect [a listed species] or attempt to engage in any such conduct” without a Federal permit.

In addition, the ESA requires the designation of “critical habitat” for listed species when “prudent and determinable.” Federal agency actions or federally funded or permitted activities are required to avoid “destruction” or “adverse modification” of designated critical habitat. See ESA Basics. Similar restrictions apply under Hawaii's endangered species laws. See HRS Chapter 195D.

For more on the Endangered Species Act, see this site's Endangered Species Act archive.

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