U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Denies Endangered Species Act Protection For Ashy Storm-Petrel

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Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published (pdf) its final determination that the ashy storm-petrel (Oceanodroma homochroa) does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) at this time. The Service’s announcement constitutes its 12-month finding on a petition to list the species filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (Center).

The ashy storm-petrel is a small seabird that ranges from the California-Oregon border to Islas San Benitos, Mexico. The Service determined that climate change, invasive species, human activities, military activities, overutilization, predation, pollution, and ingestion of plastics are all potential threats to the species that are having a negligible to slight impact on the species. The Service also found that predation by the burrowing owl and western gull are likely having a slight to moderate impact on the species. The Service determined, however, that these threats did not rise to the level of warranting listing under the ESA because they would not affect the overall status of the species.

The Center filed a petition to list the ashy storm-petrel as threatened or endangered under the ESA on October 16, 2007. While the Service found that the listing may be warranted, on August 19, 2009, the Service announced its determination that listing was not warranted. The Center subsequently challenged the Service’s determination in the United States District Court of the Northern District of California, with the challenge ultimately being resolved via a Stipulation of Dismissal. In the Stipulation of Dismissal, the parties agreed to dismissal of the Center’s challenge subject to the Service’s agreement to submit a proposed rule or not-warranted finding regarding the ashy storm-petrel by the end of Fiscal Year 2013.