Katie Tripp, Ph.D., Director of Science and Conservation of the Save the Manatee Club of Maitland, FL, has sent out the following e-mail.
Take Action to Help Manatees Keep the Endangered Species Protections They Need!
On December 14, 2012, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), on behalf of Save Crystal River, Inc., submitted a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) requesting that the West Indian manatee and its subspecies, the Florida and Antillean manatee, be downlisted to threatened. This is not PLF’s first attack on manatees. In 2005, PLF, representing the Florida Home Builders Association, filed a federal lawsuit against the USFWS to try to remove numerous Florida species, including the manatee, from federal protection in order to make land development easier and less costly.On July 1, 2014, the USFWS announced that downlisting may be warranted and is moving forward on an updated 5-year status review for the West Indian manatee, which includes the Florida and Antillean subspecies. The USFWS completed one previous 5-year review for the manatee in 2007. That review recommended downlisting, but the Service didn’t pursue rulemaking due to staff and budgetary limitations and the record mortality observed in 2010, 2011, and 2013. As part of its review process, the USFWS is accepting public comment through September 2, 2014. Specifically, the USFWS seeks information concerning the status of the West Indian manatee throughout its entire range. The USFWS must consider not only the current threats facing the species but also the threats that are reasonably likely to affect the species in the forseeable future. The USFWS has specifically requested information on the following subjects:
- The species biology, including but not limited to distribution, abundance, population trends, demographics, and genetics;
- The factors that are the basis for making reclassification determinations for a species under Section 4(a) of the ESA (click here to view);
- Habitat conditions, including but not limited to, amount, distribution, and suitability;
- Whether or not climate change is a threat to the species, what regional climate change models are available, and whether they are reliable and credible to use as step-down models for assessing the effect of climate change on the species and its habitat;
- Past and ongoing conservation measures that have been implemented for the species, its habitat, or both;
- Threat status and trends within the geographical range currently occupied by the species;
- Any other new information, data, or corrections, including but not limited to, taxonomic or nomenclatural changes, and improved analytical methods.What You Can Do:
- If all of the risks and threats to the manatees are taken into account, the only possible conclusion under the law is to maintain the West Indian manatee’s status as endangered for both of its subspecies! Please place your comments on the record on or before September 2, 2014, expressing your support and reasoning for maintaining endangered species protections for manatees. The USFWS is required to base its determination on the best scientific and commercial data available, so your comments need to be accompanied by supporting information. Click here for sample language you may wish to include with your comments.How to Comment:Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter Docket Number FWS-R4-ES-2014-0024, which is the docket number for this action, and click the blue “Search” button. Then, on the next screen, click the blue “Comment Now” button on the right side of the page to enter your comments.U.S. Mail or Hand-Delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0024, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803
- Please donate to us so that we can fight powerful opponents such as the Pacific Legal Foundation, who have reported over $14 million dollars in annual revenue.
We appreciate your help!Katie Tripp, Ph.D. Director of Science and Conservation
Save the Manatee Club | 500 N. Maitland Ave. | Maitland | FL | 32751