DENVER – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has reopened the comment period for an October 4, 2016, proposed rule to list the western glacier stonefly and the meltwater lednian stonefly as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The comment period is being reopened to accept additional comments on new information about the range of the species. Over the past year, we became aware of additional information on the western glacier stonefly, indicating a larger range than previously known.

Western Glacier Stonefly (USFWS Photo)

Faced with declining habitat, the Service proposed to list the two species as threatened.  Under the ESA, a threatened listing means the species is likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future.

The two species of stonefly live in high-elevation cold-water streams almost entirely on Federal lands in and near Glacier National Park, and the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness in Montana, and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, which protects their habitat from direct destruction or modification resulting from most human activities. Despite their remote location, due to increased water temperatures and decreased stream flows they are still threatened by habitat modification and loss.

These higher water temperatures, seasonal or permanent stream dewatering and changes in the timing and volume of snowmelt may change the existing habitat such that it no longer satisfies the ecological and physiological requirements these insects need to survive.

The proposal to list the two insects as threatened was reopened today with a 30-day public comment period.  The public comment period will close on  November 30, 2017.

The public can view the proposal on regulations.gov at Docket number No. FWS–R6–ES–2016–0086; 4500030113. The RIN is 1018–BB52 and comments will be accepted until November 30, 2017.  They may be submitted electronically on regulations.gov, or by mail to:  Public Comments Processing, Attn:  FWS–RX–ES–201X–XXXX; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.  More information about these species is available on the Service’s websites at: https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/meltwaterLednianStonefly.php and at https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/westernGlacierStonefly.php.