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Endangered Species Act Will Continue Protecting Furbish Lousewort

August 10, 2005

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that a National Wilderness Institute petition does not contain substantial information to warrant removing Endangered Species Act protection for the Furbish lousewort, an endangered perennial herb of the snapdragon family. Found only along the St. John River in Northern Maine and in New Brunswick, Canada, the Furbish lousewort has been listed as endangered since 1978.

The Service also announced the initiation of a five-year review of the status of the Furbish lousewort species, according to

Martin Miller, chief of endangered species in the Service's Northeast Region. The two announcements were published in today's Federal Register and can be seen here.

The NWI petition cited data error as the reason to remove ESA protection. The Service found no data in the petition suggesting that the plant was protected in error or information to support either changing the listing of the plant to threatened status or removing it from ESA protection. Extinction, recovery or original data error can trigger removal of ESA protection. Under the act, the Service was required to review NWI's petition to decide whether it contained substantial scientific information that removal from ESA protection may be warranted in a process known as a 90-day finding.

"The Endangered Species Act requires review of all protected species every five years to determine if the species classification is still appropriate," Miller said. "While we can find no basis for removing the Furbish lousewort from ESA protection, the Service remains committed to evaluating new information on protected species."

The Service is seeking any new scientific or commercial information concerning the status of the Furbish lousewort. Material should be submitted by mail to Supervisor, Maine Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1168 Main St., Old Town, ME 04468 or by fax to 207/827-6099. Comments must be received by Oct. 11, 2005. If the best scientific and commercial data available is not consistent with the current classification, the Service will recommend a change.

The 1991 recovery plan lists potential threats to the Furbish lousewort as excessive riverbank disturbance, alteration of the river's hydrology, and bank vegetation removal.
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