Posts Tagged 'Endangered species'

NYT op-ed nails it: Wolves matter in more ways than you might think

A New York Times op-ed on Sept. 28 lays out in very clear terms why wolves are an important and necessary part of our world and of their habitats and why the lifting of the endangered species protections could spell their doom in Wyoming.

And with a headline like this — ‘Why the Beaver Should Thank the Wolf’ — the piece, by author Mary Ellen Hannibal, should be the most-read online item this week.

It turns out, no surprise here, that wolves aren’t the worst of the food chain, valued only for their hides. They are an integral part of maintaining the ecosystem.

Since wolves were returned to Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s (they were wiped out in the early part of the 20th century), “scientists have noted an unexpected improvement in many of the park’s degraded stream areas.”

Animals behave differently when wolves are around, and that helps the vegetation and waterways. With predators around, for example, elk don’t have time to browse vegetation down to the ground, so the plants can reproduce, and the vegetation in turn stabilizes stream banks.

This is a good line: “The wolf is connected to the elk is connected to the aspen is connected to the beaver.”

That sounds fun, but it’s very serious.

The extinction of top predators, like the endangered wolf, will have repercussions far beyond the loss of one species. Their place in the planet’s ecosystem matters.

— Linda J.


Cumberland darter considered for endangered listing

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing Cumberland darter as an endangered species.

The darter is only found in the upper Cumberland River system above Cumberland Falls in Kentucky and Tennessee. Historically, this species inhabited 21 streams in the upper Cumberland River system. Now, the Cumberland darter survives in short reaches of less than one mile along 12 streams.

Copies of the proposed rule are available by contacting Mary Jennings, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 446 Neal Street, Cookeville, Tennessee 38501 (telephone 931/528-6481, extension 203; facsimile 931/528-7075). The proposed rule also is available on the Fish and Wildlife Service’s websites at or

Written public comments on this proposed rule to list these five fish species as endangered must be received or postmarked by August 23, 2010, within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. Public hearings regarding this proposal will be held if requested. Requests for a public hearing on this proposal must be received by August 9, 2010, within 45 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

Public comments must be submitted August 23, 2010, by one of the following methods:
1. Electronically via the federal eRulemaking Portal at: Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2010-0027.
2. U.S. mail or hand-delivered to Public Comments Processing. Attn: FWS-R4-ES–2010-0027, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, Arlington, VA 22203. All comments, including personal information, will be available at

Caves in Daniel Boone National Forest will remain closed to humans

Caves in the Daniel Boone National Forest and other national forests in the southeast will remain closed at part of an effort to stop to spread of a disease that is killing bats, the Forest Service said this week.

The caves were ordered closed last May. The disease, white-nose syndrome, was discovered in New York in 2006, and now is as close to Kentucky as West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and Missouri.

Scientists believe it is spread from bat to bat and my people visiting an infected cave, then wearing the same footware into one that is not infected. More than 1 million bats have died, and no cure has been found.