Tuesday, 28 May 2013

DNR Updates Endangered Species List, Downgrades Blanding's Turtle

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) board has approved changes to Wisconsin's endangered species list.

The approved list includes a controversial change to the status of the Blanding's Turtle. 

Eight animals have been added to the list of endangered and threatened species, including birds like the Kirtland's Warbler and Upland Sandpiper. But another 15 animals or plants have been taken off the list. The DNR says most of the recent public comments on the plan came from those opposing delisting the Blanding's Turtle. DNR land administrator Kurt Thiede says the turtle is better off than previously thought. 

“When we took a look at occurrences of [turtle] population across the state, we found they're much more common. In regards to protections, we do have other protections in place regarding wetland regulations and the habitats where these species occur.” 

Thiede says the review of the endangered species list started in 2009, though the Wisconsin Builders Association has been keeping the pressure on delisting the Blanding's Turtle. The DNR is talking about a lesser protection for the turtle, and may have a formal plan later this year.

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