The public will have an opportunity to comment on proposed changes to Wisconsin’s endangered or threatened species list at five public hearings the Department of Natural Resources will hold around the state in March and through written or electronic comments submitted through March 7.
“Keeping the list up to date allows us to focus our resources on high priority species and this is the most comprehensive review of the list ever conducted by the department.” said Erin Crain, director of the DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources. “Once the meetings and comment period concludes, we will review, evaluate and adapt, if warranted, all comments before asking the Natural Resources Board to adopt the proposed changes.”
The proposal is to remove 16 birds, plants and other animals and to add eight species to the list of endangered or threatened species. An additional 20 scientific names would also be updated under the proposed revisions.
The public hearings will be held on:
- March 5, 11 a.m., Eau Claire – Old Library room 1128, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Ave.;
- March 5, 11 a.m., Green Bay – Instructional Services room 1034, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Drive;
- March 5, 11 a.m., Milwaukee -Lubar Hall room S250, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, 3202 North Maryland Ave.;
- March 5, 4 p.m., Madison – Northwoods Room, Wisconsin DNR’s Science Operations Center, 2801 Progress Road; and
- March 6, 4 p.m., Wausau – Marathon County Public Library – Wausau room (3rd Floor), 300 North First St. (not sponsored by the library).
Under Wisconsin’s Endangered Species Law it is illegal for people to kill, transport, possess, process or sell species that are listed as endangered or threatened. The law requires DNR to review and, following public input, revise the endangered or threatened species list [PDF] as needed. Since the first list was developed in 1972, it has been revised 10 times, most recently in 2011 to add cave bats due to the imminent threat of white-nose syndrome.
The proposal recommends removing seven animals from the list: greater redhorse (fish), barn owl, snowy egret, Bewick’s wren, pygmy snaketail (dragonfly), Blanding’s turtle and Butler’s gartersnake. The proposal recommends removing nine plants from the list: American fever-few, bog bluegrass, Canada horse-balm, drooping sedge, hemlock parsley, prairie Indian-plantain, snowy campion, yellow gentian, and yellow giant hyssop.
Some of the 16 species proposed for removal responded well to protections given to listed species and management efforts to increase their populations, while others were found to not be as rare as once thought or no longer occur in the state.
The proposal also recommends adding eight species that have declining populations in the state and are in need of greater protection to the endangered or threatened list. Those species include: three birds — black tern, Kirtland’s warbler, upland sandpiper; one freshwater mussel — fawnsfoot; and four insects — beach-dune tiger beetle, ottoe skipper, a leafhopper and an issid planthopper.
The proposed rule, economic impact analysis and environmental assessment, along with detailed information on the species proposed for listing and delisting is available by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keyword “ET List”. Administrative rule documents are also available at: Wisconsin Administrative Rules (exit DNR) website.
Additionally comments on the proposed list changes may be sent electronically to: DNRBureauofEndangeredResources@Wisconsin.gov or may be mailed to: Wisconsin DNR- Bureau of Endangered Resources, E/T EIA Solicitation, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921. Comments are to be postmarked no later than March 7, 2013. Written comments, whether submitted electronically or by U.S. mail, have the same weight and effect as oral statements presented at the public hearings.
Crain noted Wisconsin continues to be a leader in protecting and restoring endangered species “so all present and future generations can enjoy the state’s natural resources.”
Logo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources