Although there were some notable downperiods when it came to Endangered Species Act news over the past twelve months, the past few weeks have been anything but slow. Below are a few of the more recent newsworthy items that have rolled off the presses:

December 11, 2014 – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues a final rule listing the rufa red knot (Calidris canutus rufa) as a threatened species. The rufa red knot is a migratory shorebird that breeds in the Canadian Artic, and winters in parts of the United States, the Carribean, and South America. The final rule states that the listing is due to “loss of both breeding and nonbreeding habitat; likely effects related to disruption of natural predator cycles on the breeding grounds; reduced prey availability throughout the nonbreeding range; and increasing frequency and severity of asynchronies (mismatches) in the timing of the birds’ annual mirgratory cycle relative to favorable food and weather conditions.”

December 11, 2014 – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for Santa Rosa Plain, which includes the Sonoma County Distinct Population Segment of the California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense) and three plant species. The announcement states that the “primary threat to these species is modification and destruction of suitable habitat due to urbanization, agricultural conversion, competition with non-native plants, and climate change.” The Service estimates the total incremental economic effect of the recovery plan to be $463 million over the next fifty years. According to the announcement, the Service will be accepting comments on the draft recovery plan through February 9, 2015.

December 12, 2014 – The State of Colorado notifies the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of its intent to sue the Service and challenge the final rule listing the Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) as a threatened species. We blogged about the rule here.