Photograph By Alan Vernon
On November 4, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to remove the Inyo California towhee (Pipilo crissalis eremophilus) from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service concluded that delisting the Inyo California towhee is warranted because substantial threats to the species have been ameliorated or reduced since listing, and the species no longer meets the definition of a threatened species under the ESA.
According to the Service, the total rangewide population of the towhees indicates a self-sustaining population. Specifically, the species’ population has increased from 200 individual towhees at the time of listing to between 640 and 741. A cooperative agreement between land managers and the Service also represents an ongoing commitment to the conservation of the towhee and its habitat.
Threats to the towhee historically included grazing by feral equines, recreational activities such as hiking, camping, hunting, and off-highway vehicle use, water diversion, mining, energy development, invasive and nonnative plants, predation, and climate change.
Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted by January 3, 2014.