The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is failing to protect species at risk of extinction, according to a notice of intent to sue Guardians filed today. The Service drafted a plan to address the backlog of species needing protections in 2016, but has only completed 47 percent of the decisions it committed to making in fiscal years 2017 and 2018.
Without needed protections, species suffer. Case in point: the Joshua tree. The Service was scheduled to decide on Endangered Species Act protections for the iconic tree in 2018, but never did. Now vandals in Joshua Tree National Park are cutting down trees for illegal off-roading during the government shutdown.
Other species suffering as the Service delays include the wolverine and the meltwater lednian stonefly; both were found warranted for listing years ago, but never received official protections. Climate change poses an enormous threat to these two unprotected species: wolverine depend on deep snowpack to make dens for their young, and meltwater lednian stonefly live only in cold, glacier-fed streams of Glacier National Park, where glaciers are predicted to vanish by 2030.
Read the press release.