|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
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.