Listed Species

Which species have protection under the ESA?

Protections Under the ESA

Protections for Endangered Species: Endangered species are protected by the ESA’s “take” prohibition. The “take” of a listed species means to “harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.” Encompassed in this definition is also any significant habitat modification or degradation that impairs the species’ behavioral patterns, such as breeding, feeding, or sheltering. Committing a take can result in large fines and even imprisonment.

Protections for Threatened Species: Threatened species are also protected by the ESA’s “take” prohibition. However, the federal government can exercise more flexibility by protecting a threatened species through a “4(d) Rule.” In general, these rules are used to create more adaptable protection of threatened species, allowing the USFWS to craft specific rules for a threatened species providing protection that is “necessary and advisable” for the conservation of the species. A 4(d) Rule is usually designed to relax the normal protections of a threatened species, in an effort to ease potential conflicts between private landowners and government agencies.

Critical Habitat: For listed species, the federal government designates “critical habitat,” which includes geographical areas that the species actually occupies at the time of listing as well as other geographical areas that the federal government determines are essential for conservation of the species. Designation of critical habitat on private lands only affects federal agency actions, federally funded activities, and federally permitted activities.

Designation of critical habitat on private land does not allow the government to take or manage private property, establish a preserve or conservation area, or allow government access to private land. However, activities on private lands will be curtailed if they require a federal permit, license, or funds and if those activities are determined to adversely modify or destroy critical habitat.

Listed Species of Concern for Forest Landowners

Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) – ENDANGERED

Lead USFWS Regional Office: Region 4

Range and Habitat: Red-cockaded woodpeckers inhabit open pine forests of the Southeast Coastal Plain. They prefer old-growth longleaf pine stands with open, park-like conditions for foraging.

Additional Species Information:

 

Black Pinesnake (Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi) – THREATENED

Lead USFWS Regional Office: Region 4

Range and Habitat: The black pinesnake’s current range is limited to southern Mississippi and south-western Alabama. The snake prefers dry, flat, open-canopied forest habitat.

Additional Species Info:

Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) – ENDANGERED

Lead USFWS Regional Office: Region 3

Range & Habitat: The Indiana bat’s range spreads from northern Alabama and Georgia, to Missouri and Iowa in the west, north through parts of Michigan, and east to the Appalachian Mountains. The bat’s summer habitat includes stream corridors in well developed riparian forests, and the females roost in maternity colonies under the peeling bark of dead and dying trees.

Additional Species Information:

Norther Long-Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) – THREATENED

Lead USFWS Regional Office: Region 3

Range & Habitat: The northern long-eared bat’s range spreads from eastern Montana to northern Louisiana, and throughout the Midwest and Northeast United States. The female bats roost in maternity colonies under the bark of trees.

Additional Species Information:

Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) – THREATENED

Lead USFWS Regional Office: Region 1

Range & Habitat: The northern spotted owl inhabits old growth or mixed-age forests of the Pacific Northwest. The species historical range included California, Oregon, Washington.

Additional Species Information:

Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) – THREATENED

Lead USFWS Regional Office: Region 1

Range & Habitat: The Marbled Murrelet’s range is limited to coastal forests of Washington, Oregon, and California. The birds prefer to nest in trees over 200 years of age.

Additional Species Information:

More Useful Links from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service