After a two decade delay, California’s giant garter snake to receive a recovery plan

defendersofwildlifeMarch 1, 2016
Contact: Catalina Tresky; (202) 772-0253,
ctresky@defenders.org

After a two decade delay, California’s giant garter snake to receive a recovery plan

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) agreed to complete a final recovery plan for the giant garter snake by September 29, 2017.

Kim Delfino, Defenders of Wildlife’s California program director, issued the following statement:

“Ever since the giant garter snake was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1993, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified it as a top priority for recovery planning. Yet, the Service never completed one, all while preparing plans for dozens of other species the agency identified as lower priorities.

“Finally, after more than 20 years, the Service has agreed to give the giant garter snake the recovery plan it needs and deserves.

“Over the past two decades, the giant garter snake, along with other imperiled species in California’s Central Valley, have faced major environmental threats, including prolonged droughts and massive habitat loss from urban and agricultural development. It is our hope that a recovery plan for the giant garter snake will provide a roadmap that everyone can follow as the agency works to safeguard the snake throughout its historic range and restore its important wetland habitat.”

Background

In 1994, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published policy guidelines establishing that recovery plans for listed species should be completed within two and a half years of the species’ listing.

Three years later, in 1997, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began drafting a recovery plan for the giant garter snake. And yet almost 20 years later, the Service has still not complete a final recovery plan for the snake.

In September 2015, Defenders filed a lawsuit accusing the Service of unreasonably delaying completion of a final recovery plan for the giant garter snake.

The Service has agreed to the September 2017 deadline as part of a legal settlement with Defenders of Wildlife.