Every five years a status assessment of Ohio’s fish and wildlife species is conducted. Several species have been taken off Ohio’s Endangered Species List while others have been added, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
Five species were downlisted from endangered to threatened and include the bobcat, Lake Erie watersnake, trumpeter swan, blue sucker and the mountain madtom. The yellow-bellied sapsucker was downlisted from endangered to species of concern.
Those species going from threatened to special interest were dark-eyed junco, yellow-crowned night-heron, hermit thrush and least flycatcher.
Osprey, bald eagle, bluebreast darter and rosyside dace were taken off the threatened list and will no longer receive a designation. All of these species have experienced tremendous range expansion due to improved habitat or water quality.
Other species that will no longer receive a designation are the blue grosbeak, little blue heron, American widgeon, rock pocketbook, flat floater and fat pocketbook.
Those species added to Ohio’s endangered species list were upland sandpiper, Iowa darter and gilt darter. The Eastern harvest mouse was added to the threatened list.
Species going from no designation to species of concern include smoky shrew, deer mouse, prairie vole, woodland vole, southern bog lemming, silver-haired bat, red bat and hoary bat. The evening bat, American black duck and variegated orange moth will now be listed as a species of special interest.
Listed as extinct are Kramer’s cave beetle and the tubercled blossom mussel, which have not been found globally in more than 100 years. Extirpated from Ohio are the spoonhead sculpin, blackchin shiner, blacknose shiner and Mississippi silvery minnow, which have not been found in the state for 25 years. One mammal, the Southern red-backed vole, has been listed as extirpated.
The Division of Wildlife has legal authority over Ohio’s fish and wildlife, which includes about 56 species of mammals, 200 species of breeding birds, 84 species and subspecies of amphibians and reptiles, 170 species of fish, 100 species of mollusks and 20 species of crustaceans. In addition, there are thousands of species of insects and other invertebrates which fall under the Division of Wildlife’s jurisdiction.
The first list of Ohio’s endangered wildlife was adopted in 1974 and included 71 species. An extensive examination of the list is conducted every five years. Input is sought from professional Division of Wildlife staff and other wildlife experts across Ohio.
No state tax dollars are used to support this program. Monitoring and recovery efforts are supported by the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species Fund, which receives donations from Ohioans through the state income tax check-off program and by the purchase of cardinal license plates. Individuals wanting to donate to the fund can also donate online at www.wildohio.com.
The new Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp provides an additional funding opportunity to support conservation, especially among wildlife watchers, photographers, campers, hikers and others who support wildlife causes. The $15 collectible Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp is available annually and highlights a different wildlife species each year chosen through a photo competition.
Federal funds for endangered species and wildlife diversity efforts are also provided through the State Wildlife Grant Program, which targets species with greatest conservation need. The Lake Erie watersnake recovery efforts are an excellent example of federal, state and local partnership resulting in species resurgence.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at www.ohiodnr.com.
Logo courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources