Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Endangered Species

This post, on a blog called Thoughts from Kansas (via Chris Mooney), talks about ways in which the federal Endangered Species Act might be changed. After reading it, I checked the lists of federally endangered and threatened species in Connecticut and New York (endangered and threatened species get equal protection) and tried to figure out which occurred in the Long Island Sound watershed.

For Connecticut, it was easy: all of them are in the Sound’s watershed – 13 federally endangered and threatened animals or plants: roseate tern, leatherback sea turtle, Atlantic ridley sea turtle, shortnose sturgeon, dwarf wedge mussel, and sandplain gerardia (all endangered), and bald eagle, piping plover, loggerhead sea turtle, Atlantic green sea turtle, bog turtle, Puritan tiger beetle, and small whorled pogonia (all threatened).

For New York it was slightly harder. I had to try to figure out if the species occurred in the relatively small part of the state that drains into the Sound (the fact that Hudson River waters mix with Sound waters and that the Mohawk River basin and the Adirondacks are in the Hudson watershed did not mean that I included species from that far afield). I came up with 11, all but one of which occurs in Connecticut (seabeach amaranth, which used to occur in Connecticut but has been wiped out and which in New York probably occurs only on the south shore of Long Island, but I was feeling generous): roseate tern, leatherback, Atlantic ridley, shortnose sturgeon, and sandplain gerardia (endangered), and bald eagle, piping plover, loggerhead, Atlantic green turtle, bog turtle, and seabeach amaranth (all threatened).

(Connecticut and New York have lists of state endangered and threatened species that are much longer.)

New York and Connecticut both have strong endangered species laws, modeled on the federal law, and I doubt seriously if either state would weaken its law if the federal law was weakened. Neither state has the kind of property rights advocates/ESA haters that Western states have to push those kinds of changes. Nevertheless, it bears watching, and if Thoughts from Kansas follows the issue, as he says he will, I’ll keep an eye on it and link to it when there’s something good.


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