Listing Species in Hawaii

Bob Zybach sent this contribution for posting:

From: Center for Biological Diversity
Published August 2, 2011 03:41 AM

23 Oahu Species Proposed for Endangered Species Act Protection
HONOLULU— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to protect 23 species on the Hawaiian island of Oahu as endangered under the Endangered Species Act on Monday. The proposal also includes protection of 43,491 acres of critical habitat essential for the conservation of the species, which include 20 plants (including some with fewer than 50 left in the wild) and three damselflies — the crimson Hawaiian damselfly, blackline Hawaiian damselfly and oceanic Hawaiian damselfly.

“These unique Hawaiian species are a national treasure, and we’re thrilled they’ll be getting the Endangered Species Act protection they need to survive,” said Tierra Curry, a conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity.

In early July, the Center reached a legal settlement with the Service to expedite protection for 757 imperiled species, including 19 of the 23 proposed on Oahu.

The Center petitioned in 2004 to protect 19 of the species proposed Monday. The 19 species — 16 plants and the three damselflies — have been waiting on the federal “candidate” list for protection for years. Candidates are species known to qualify for Endangered Species Act protection that are placed on a waiting list instead of receiving that protection.

In addition to the 19 candidates, Monday’s proposal includes four plants identified as the “rarest of the rare” by the Plant Extinction Prevention Program. Each of the four plant species has fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the wild and is in need of immediate conservation.

The plant species occur in a variety of habitats and are threatened by habitat loss and foraging and trampling by invasive goats, pigs and rodents. They are also threatened by invasive insects that outcompete native pollinators.

The damselflies are threatened by agricultural and urban development, stream alteration and predation by nonnative insects. The damselflies hatch and develop in streams, small cascades of waterfalls and wet, mossy areas. They then undergo metamorphosis and become shiny-winged adults that move into the forest.

Monday’s proposed critical habitat designation for the 23 species also includes a revision of critical habitat that has already been designated for 99 endangered Oahu plant species. In 2003, more than 55,000 acres of habitat was designated to protect the 99 plant species. The proposal includes only 43,491 acres of habitat for the 99 already-listed plants and the 23 new proposed species.
“We are concerned that this proposal appears to be reducing habitat that has already been designated to protect Oahu’s species, so we’ll work to make sure these rare plants and animals get the full habitat protection they need to survive,” said Curry.

1 thought on “Listing Species in Hawaii”

  1. Here is how the CBD intimidates federal resource planners and managers by filing multiple listings with generic “threats” to “habitat.” I have a good friend with a PhD in Entomology who has specialized in ESA insects specific to Hawaii for a number of years. This filing sounded bogus to me, so I sent this article to him and asked his response without indicating my personal thoughts on the issue (although he knows me well enough to make a good guess as to what they are).

    After receiving his feedback, I asked permission to share it with others — which he gave me, but with the provision that he not be personally identified, nor the person (“a prominent Bishop Museum Entomologist”) he names, not be identified either. My friend is regularly called upon to do field research on this very topic, as a consultant, and as an expert witness, so his desire for anonymity seems reasonable enough: he doesn’t want to jeopardize his income or allow others to question his integrity by misconstruing his comments or taking them out of context.

    Here is what he wrote in response to this article:


    As a former nurseryman I don’t see why any plant should ever be listed as endangered. It is a simple matter of propagation and planting. Perhaps some need special pollinators, but if the [“environmentalists”] love these rarest of the rare plants so much they can go out with small artist brushes and pollinate them themselves.

    As far as the damselflies go, yes they are on the decline. Mostly it was caused by predators, mostly Bishop Museum entomologists. ____________ (a Bishop Museum entomologist) used to tell stories about when he was asked to bring show and tell bugs to elementary schools he would stop and collect 25 or so damselflies of various species at a few spots near Honolulu. He described how the populations of these bugs declined over the years and fewer and fewer were available so he had to go to other spots to collect. Finally they were all gone. Big predator on small bugs.

    Also, the damselflies may be similar to the 25 or so pomice flies (Drosophila sp.) that were recently listed. A different species in each drainage. Likely they are all the same species, isolated into founder populations in different drainages. Near the coast all the flies look the
    same. Damselflies may be following the same M.O. I have not studied these guys so it’s hard to say. Not sure why anyone would worry about it anyway.

    Stop multi-million dollar housing projects for a few bugs???? So give Hawaii to the bugs and plants and remove all the humans, that’s a good idea. Start with the Hawaiians, they started the whole decline.

    [Personal message.]


    [Hawaiian ESA Entomologist, PhD]


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