From: Associated Press
Published October 3, 2006 12:00 AM

Agency Takes Species Off Endangered List

OAKLAND, Calif. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pulled two species be pulled from the endangered list on Monday and recommended that four be downlisted from endangered to threatened on Monday, saying there's been much progress toward wildlife recovery in California.

The valley elderberry longhorn beetles and the island night lizards that live in San Clemente Island were taken off the list. The Morro shoulderband snail, the Smith's blue butterfly, the least Bells vireo and the California least stern were recommended for downlisting from endangered to threatened.

There was no change in status for the other six species reviewed.

The announcement comes at the end of the mandatory reviews that listed species undergo every five years.

The agency also designated more than 150,000 acres in four California counties as critical for the survival of the threatened Alameda whipsnake, which is in trouble because of heavy development in the scrubland where it lives.

The slender, fast-moving snake, also known as the Alameda striped racer because of the distinctive yellow-orange stripes on its black body, has been considered a threatened species in California since 1971. It was added to the federal list of threatened species in 1997.

The habitat designation does not affect a property's ownership or what private owners can do with their land, federal officials said.

But it would require federal agencies planning to fund or carry out activities on the identified acreage to consult with Fish and Wildlife to make sure their projects would not harm the listed species.

The agency's new rule for the Alameda whipsnake established as critical habitat 74,239 acres in Alameda County, 76,033 acres in Contra Costa County, 2,625 acres in northeastern Santa Clara and 1,937 acres in western San Joaquin County.

Source: Associated Press

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