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Center for Biological Diversity Sues to Protect Rare Songbird

Steve Faccio

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a formal notice of intent to sue the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for not responding to its petition to grant endangered species status to the Bicknell’s thrush.  The rare songbird is only found on mountaintops in northern New England, the Adirondacks and eastern Canada during the summer, and a few Caribbean islands in winter.

The original petition requesting federal protection was filed in August 2010.  The Endangered Species Act requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine within 90 days whether there is enough scientific information to continue a review, and if so,  within 12 months to make a decision.  It was nearly two years before the first determination was issued, the final decision remains pending. Center for Biological Diversity Northeast Conservation Advocate Mollie Matteson  says by failing to comply with requirements, the federal agency  increases  the risk of the songbird’s extinction.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region Spokesperson  Meagan Racey notes that the agency did determine last August that the Bicknell’s thrush may need federal protection as a threatened or endangered species and the petition review is on-going.

Vermont Center for Ecostudies Conservation Biologist Kent McFarland notes that a lot of work is being done to try to save the Bicknell’s thrush and he believes an Endangered Species Listing would highlight to federal agencies the importance of on-going conservation planning.

McFarland explains that the group has found that one of the biggest threats to the Bicknell’s thrush is in it’s wintering grounds.

According to the Northeast region office, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing more than twelve-hundred petitions to place species on the threatened or endangered list.  A species can obtain an emergency listing.

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