A Brief History
of Efforts To Protect
Some major events in the effort to protect salmon in accordance with the Endangered Species Act:
November, 1991 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated salmon in five Downeast Maine rivers as “category 2” candidate species. After the designation, FWS and the State of Maine produced a prelisting recovery plan and began working with the National Marine Fisheries Service to reverse the decline in salmon abundance.
October, 1993 – The services (FWS and NMFS) received petitions (from RESTORE: The North Woods; Biodiversity Legal Foundation; and Jeffrey Elliot) to list Atlantic salmon under the ESA.
January, 1994 – The services published notice that a listing might be warranted, and asked for information from the public. At the same time, the services formed a biological review team to study the status of U.S. Atlantic salmon in relation to the ESA.
January 1995 – the review team produced a report (“Status Review for Anadromous Atlantic Salmon in the United States”) that concluded that a distinct population segment of Atlantic salmon in seven rivers was in danger of extinction. The report was submitted for peer review and made available for public review.
September 1995 – After reviewing state and foreign efforts to protect salmon, the services concluded that efforts being taken to protect salmon had the potential to reduce the likelihood of extinction and that the services were therefore able to propose listing the DPS as threatened rather than endangered. The proposed rule offered the state an opportunity to develop a conservation plan.
October 1995 – The governor of Maine appointed a task force to develop a conservation plan for the protection and recovery of salmon in seven rivers. The state held public hearings on the conservation plan in the fall of 1996 and submitted the plan to the services in March 1997. The services invited public comments on the plan in May 1997.
October 1997 – One of the petitioners (RESTORE: The North Woods) filed notice of intent to sue NMFS and FWS to enforce the final listing provision of the ESA unless the services promptly published a determination.
December 1997 – The services concluded that ongoing actions had reduced the threat to the salmon and that with additional planned actions the seven river DPS was not likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future and therefore ESA listing was not warranted. The services also said they would make annual reports on the implementation of the state plan available for public review, and they listed the circumstances under which the process of listing salmon would be re-initiated.
January 1999 – the services received Maine’s first annual progress report on implementation of the state’s conservation plan. The services took public comment until March 1999.
July 1999 – after reviewing progress reports on the state’s conservation plan and all available information on the status of the species, the biological review team concluded that the DPS is in danger of extinction.
November 1999 – based on the biological evidence, the services published a proposal to list Atlantic salmon as endangered. Public comment will be accepted through March 15.