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Idaho Species That Failed To Get ESA Listing Show How The Act Is Adapting

Justin Barrett
A chubby southern Idaho ground squirrel.

Last week, the federal government decided not to place three species found in Idaho on the Endangered Species List. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they did not warrant listing because of successes made in conservation.

Along with the southern Idaho ground squirrel, the Goose Creek milkvetch and the Great Basin population of the Columbia Spotted Frog, 14 other species around the country were also turned down for listing.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said the 17 species didn’t make the list because of conservation successes, where states, landowners and the federal government made agreements to help those species.

“Finding ways to encourage non-federal agencies, private people, landowners, to participate in conserving species is a really good idea,” says Dale Goble, a law professor at the University of Idaho who has studied the Endangered Species Act.

Goble says it’s crucial for people to understand that most species will have to rely on humans. He says humans have a responsibility to minimize the impacts we’re having on the earth.

“It doesn’t work to do a wild place anymore. Wild places aren’t wild. They are changing.”

Goble says the model the ESA was built upon, doesn’t really match the reality we are facing at this point.

“It still has really great goals to conserve as much biodiversity as we possibly can, but the ways to go about doing that are going to have to change.”

He says we’re being forced to prioritize what we’re going to try and save and going species by species is no longer a really good way to do that.

“If you’re going to list a species, or focus on a species, it’s good to pick a species that a lot of other species and ecosystems also rely upon.”

Goble says protecting imperiled species requires more than breeding hundreds of animals and letting them loose upon the landscape.

“We need to recognize that most species have and will continue to require human conservation efforts.”

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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