Gov't to Review Status of 70 Threatened Western Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will review the status of 70 animals and plants to determine if they still need protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, the agency said Tuesday.

The majority of the species are found in Hawaii, with some in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Guam. The best known is the woodland caribou, found in a small area along the Washington-Idaho border.

The review is routine and conducted every five years. All interested parties can submit comments until June 11.

Joan Jewett, a spokeswoman for the agency, said the review will determine if the status of any plant or animal listed as threatened or endangered should be changed. That would trigger a lengthy process before any change occurred, she said.

"It's pretty time consuming," Jewett said Tuesday.

The species to be reviewed include four fish, three snails, six birds, 56 plants and one mammal.

Last year, the Pacific Region of the FWS started reviews of 33 species in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Hawaii. Those reviews are still ongoing.

A species could be recommended for reclassification from endangered to threatened (downlisting), from threatened to endangered (uplisting), or for removal from the federal list. If no change is recommended, the species would remain under its current listing status.

Information that is considered in a status review includes: population trends, distribution, genetics, habitat conditions, and threats.

Animals to be studied include:

— Sucker, Oregon, listed as threatened in 1985.

— Chub, Hutton tui Gila, Oregon, listed as threatened in 1985.

— Chub, Borax Lake Gila, Oregon, listed as endangered in 1982.

— Dace, Oregon, listed as threatened in 1985.

— Snail, Utah valvata, Idaho and Utah, listed as endangered in 1992.

— Spring snail, Idaho, listed as endangered in 1998.

— Limpet, Idaho, listed as endangered in 1992.

— Caribou, Idaho and Washington, listed as endangered in 1984.

All of the rest of the species to be studied are plants, all but one found in Hawaii.