The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published (pdf) a proposed rule to list 21 species as endangered and 2 species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Of the 21 species the Service proposes to list as endangered, twelve are plant species and nine are animal species. The two proposed threatened species are animal species.
All 23 species are found in the U.S. Territory of Guam and the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. According to the proposed rule, the species are experiencing population level impacts as a result of habitat loss and degradation, predation or herbivory by nonnative species, inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms to prevent the introduction of nonnative plants and animals, ordinance and live-fire from military training, recreational vehicles, and vulnerability to extinction due to small numbers of individuals and populations.
Seven of the species proposed for listing as endangered species were previously listed as candidate species. In addition to these seven species, the Service has determined that 16 species warrant listing under the ESA and, because they occur within the same two ecosystems as the seven candidate species and share common threats with them, the Service included them in the proposed rule to provide them with protection under the ESA in an expeditious manner.
The Service intends to publish a proposal to address critical habitat for the 23 Mariana Islands species under the ESA in the near future.