Settlements prompt federal decisions on hundreds of endangered species


Updated 8/8/2011

The Arctic grayling, found only in the Missouri River Basin's upper reaches, became an endangered species candidate in 1994, meaning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that it deserved federal protection but did not list it because other species took priority. The grayling has languished there ever since, along with more than 200 other candidates. Two recent settlements should help clear this legal logjam. In a May settlement with WildEarth Guardians, FWS agreed to make final listing decisions on more than 250 candidates by 2016, and the environmental group pledged to limit new listing petitions and refrain from suing over missed review deadlines. In July, the Center for Biological Diversity sealed that deal by promising not to contest it, and agreed to allow Fish and Wildlife to push back some deadlines if the group files more than a set number of lawsuits. These deals are welcome relief, says agency spokeswoman Vanessa Kaufman. "Our resources will be allocated to (doing our job) and not to going to court." Here are a few species up for review.