Endangered Species and Habitat Conservation Plan Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1019 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Animals

Endangered Species & Habitat Conservation Plan

Endangered Aquatic Species

The Shortnose Sturgeon, formally referred to as Acipenser brevirostrum, is among the federally endangered aquatic species, which are protected by federal government (SOCNFWR, 2007). The Shortnose Sturgeon is commonly found along the Connecticut River from Turners Falls, Massachusetts to the Long Island Sound. It is the smallest of three sturgeon species known to inhabit North America. These fish are known for their long life spans - known to exceed 65 years for females, and nearly 30 for males (Dadswell, 1984).

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The Shortnose Sturgeon was listed as an Endangered Species throughout its entire range on March 11, 1967. This was part of the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1996 (Dadswell, 1984). The Shortnose Sturgeon became the first federally endangered freshwater fish in New England, and remains the only to this day. In the 1890's, sturgeon themselves became the most valuable fisheries in the Bay and along the East Coast. They were collected to add up to nearly 725,000 pounds per landing average during this particular decade. As these fish tend to have slow reproduction cycles, their population plummeted and by the 1920's, they yielded catches that had fallen to an average of only 22,000 pounds (Blankenship, 2007). As civilization progressed and spread in the areas of the Shortnose Sturgeon's habitat, many of their spawning areas were overcome by damns, bridges and other man-made objects. These factors are considered the most evident and prominent influences in the Shortnose Sturgeon's decline.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Endangered Species and Habitat Conservation Plan Assignment

When the Shortnose Sturgeon was listed as and endangered aquatic species, conservation plans began and studies were conducted in how its population could be maintained. The fishing and trapping of the Shortnose Sturgeon became illegal and was imposed by a fine of $20,000 for even tampering with the fish (SOCNFWR, 2007). A Federal critical habitat plan was completed in 1998, where many ordinances were set in place to reach a full recovery of the Shortnose Sturgeon by 2024 (U.S.D.O.F., 1998). The recovery plan was drafted by a seven-member recovery team made up of Federal, state and private institutions with both fishery and management backgrounds (U.S.D.O.F., 1998). The plan consists of an updated synopsis of the biology and distribution of the Shortnose Sturgeon, a description of factors affecting species recovery, an outline of actions needed to recover the species, and a detailed implementation schedule for completing specific recovery tasks (U.S.D.O.F., 1998).

Populations of the Shortnose Sturgeon have been protected in populations through a joint NMFS/FWS policy that recognizes distinct vertebrate population segments. These population segments are under rigorous study and assisted reproduction operation. Each population segment is under high priority of maintaining the population size threshold in order to sustain the needed size for recovery success (U.S.D.O.F., 1998). Restrictions are currently in affect to avoid placing roads, houses, and other developments within 250 feet of waterways providing habitat for the Shortnose Sturgeon.

Neither a Safe Harbor Agreement nor a Candidate Conservation Agreement exists for the Shortnose Sturgeon (U.S.F.W.S., 2007). The main purpose of a Safe Harbor Agreement is to promote voluntary management for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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