Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Environment

Feds Deny Developers' Bid To Take Gnatcatcher Off Endangered Species List

Feds Deny Developers' Bid To Take Gnatcatcher Off Endangered Species List
The California Building Industry Association asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the gray songbird. Law requires habitat protection for endangered species or mitigation if development happens where the birds live.

Federal officials have turned away a bid to take the California gnatcatcher off the endangered species list.

Advertisement

The California Building Industry Association and others asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove federal protections because the gray songbird is not a valid subspecies. The petition argued the California gnatcatcher is closely related to another gnatcatcher that is plentiful in Baja California, Mexico.

Federal officials disagreed after an extensive review that included consulting a panel of scientists outside the agency.

The review did not find scientific evidence that would lead to approval of the request to delist and the bird will keep protections mandated by the Endangered Species Act.

"The result of this does not change what we've already been doing on the ground for more than 20 years in Southern California, and that is working with local governments and land owners to implement landscape scale conservation planning efforts which have been very successful," said Jane Hendron, a spokeswoman for Fish And Wildlife Service.

This is the second time the federal agency has rejected a request questioning the genetic lineage of the gnatcatcher.

Advertisement

"Proponents have tried twice to get the bird delisted and a very thorough review has happened," said Andrea Jones of the National Audubon Society. "And I would suspect, if they tried a third time, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would say their petition is not warranted this time because they have done such a thorough review."

San Diego building industry officials said they were hoping federal protections would be lifted, but developers will continue doing business under current rules.

Federal law requires habitat protection for endangered species or mitigation if development happens where the birds live.