The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will accept comments through April 9, 2011 regarding a status review of the longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys).  In a press release (pdf) announcing that the Service is now accepting comments, the Service states that, based on the status review, it will issue a final 12-month finding by September 30, 2011, that will address whether the listing may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Service has twice previously made determinations not to list the species under the ESA, most recently in a determination (pdf) published in the Federal Register on April 9, 2009.  As we explained in a prior post, the Service agreed to issue a 12-month finding by September 30, 2011, as part of a settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity and the Bay Institute.

The longfin smelt has a range from Monterey Bay, California to Prince William Sound, Alaska, and there are two known, landlocked populations.  Across much of that range, longfin smelt are abundant.  But abundance data indicate that the San Francisco Bay-Delta population has declined substantially.