Celebrate the protection of our endangered plants and animals!

Bog turtle
The small-whorled pogonia, first discovered in 1814, is considered one of our nation's rarest orchids. Populations of the plant appear sporadically from New Hampshire to Georgia. It was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1982. Credit: Dale Suiter, USFWS

The small-whorled pogonia, first discovered in 1814, is considered one of our nation’s rarest orchids. Populations of the plant appear sporadically from New Hampshire to Georgia. It was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1982. Credit: Dale Suiter, USFWS

UPDATE: Don’t miss the stories of endangered plants and animals that we’re sharing all year! Find them here.

From the birdwing pearlymussel stuck in the sand under Virginia’s waters to the Karner blue butterfly fluttering in New York’s pine barrens and the small-whorled pogonia poking out of the ground in a few of Maine’s hardwood forests…

We’ve got a lot of native wildlife to be proud of in the Northeast.

But more than 100 of those animals and plant species found in our region have had a brush with extinction. Some have even joined the notable passenger pigeon, and live on only in history.

As a country, we started taking steps to prevent these tragedies in 1966, when Congress passed the Endangered Species Preservation Act. A number of animals from the Northeast were protected under this law, including the Indiana bat, the Delmarva fox squirrel and the Maryland darter (PDF) (see the rest).

What's happening for endangered wildlife in your state? Check out our map of stories.

What’s happening for endangered wildlife in your state? Check out our map of stories!

The real teeth came seven years later, with the Endangered Species Act of 1973. That law expanded the wildlife that could be protected under it (to include freshwater mussels and butterflies, among others), established a program to provide funds for conservation, and applied broad prohibitions on harming endangered plants and animals. Of course, there were many other updates.

Almost 40 years later, the Endangered Species Act remains the critical safety net that has saved 99 percent of wildlife protected under it from extinction. And in the Northeast, that net is raised because of the many people who reach out and help, from government agencies and companies to towns, landowners and organizations.

Bog turtle

Weighing a bog turtle, North America’s smallest turtle. This species is threatened by loss of habitat and poaching. Credit: Gary Peeples/USFWS

We honor the dedicated people who work to ensure the continued existence of diverse, native wildlife through many activities, from constructing a culvert to provide Atlantic salmon passage under roads to erecting a small fence protecting the flowering alpine plant Robbins’ cinquefoil, monitoring shorebirds like the piping plover, and maintaining sedge meadows for bog turtles.

America’s outdoors belong to all of us. Ensuring the health of our wildlife now and into the future is a daunting task, one we can achieve only together.

JOIN THE CELEBRATION
Check out the Endangered Species Act 40th anniversary website!

As we lead up to the actual 40th anniversary on December 28, 2013, we invite you to join us in paying special recognition to this landmark legislation for wildlife. Stay tuned as we share stories from each state in the Northeast throughout the year!

2 Comments on “Celebrate the protection of our endangered plants and animals!

  1. Pingback: Why We Must Make A Stand In Defence Of Our Forests

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: