The elktoe mussel, silver chub, grotto salamander, whooping crane and black-footed ferret are among the 24 endangered species in Kansas.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is currently in a five-year review of species that are threatened, endangered or species-in-need-of-conservation in the state.
The last time the review was done in 2008, the shoal chub, plains minnow and delta hydrobe snail were added to the threatened list while the bald eagle and peregrine falcon were removed.
The process begins with a wide variety of researchers from state and federal agencies, colleges, universities and even businesses and individuals that submit petitions for changes in species status, said Eric Johnson, KDWPT section chief.
Petitions must be sent to KDWPT no later than July 31 to be considered in this five-year review.
The petitions have to contain substantial factual data concerning a specific species, said Dan Mulhern, fish and wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that evaluates petition information.
Most of the information comes in written form. The person submitting the data can be called in to support the information.
Petitions information is used to change the existing status of a species. Information can be used to add a species that is currently not on the list, it can be used to change existing status either up or down or it can be used to remove a species from the list, Mulhern said.
While almost anyone can submit a petition, the information has to be very detailed and provide data that a change has occurred in a species population that warrants a review.
The Fish and Wildlife service has a review committee that does the petition evaluation. Several months of communication take place among the review committee members before the committee actually comes together for a conference meeting.
Once in committee, Mulhern and the other seven or eight members determine if enough evidence is present to warrant changing a species status and what that status should be. If necessary, they will call in experts to help evaluate the information but it must be substantial and well documented.
"There needs to be enough information to peak the interest of the agency," Mulhern said.
Very few species are reviewed in any particular year. Some times it's just a couple or it can be as high as a dozen.
Once the committee has completed their review, and determines that a species needs a change in status, the review committee makes a recommendation to the KDWPT secretary who in turn will advise the KDWPT commission to place, move or remove the species. The board makes the final decision on species location.
If a species gets on the list, KDWPT will work with university experts to develop and implement a recovery plan for the species, Johnson said.
Page 2 of 2 - "It's our goal to maintain the population so it won't become federally endangered," Johnson said.
Several endangered and threatened species inhabit the Ninnescah River. A disruption to the Ninnescah River could impact the migration of a species between the Ninnescah headwaters just west of Pratt and the Kaw Reservoir.
The Peppered Chub spawn during flood events and their eggs have to float 200 miles to develop so any interruption in the river flow, like a dam or some kind of impound, could have a big impact on the species.
With a threatened, endangered or species-in-need-of-conservation listing, a permit must be obtained before constructing any kind of dam or impound that could change the flow of the river where those species would be impacted. The same is true for any threatened or endangered invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds or mammals.
If dam or other structure or change of habitat involves only state agencies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not have to get involved. But if a federal agency is involved or a federally protected species is involved, a permit would have to go through Fish and Wildlife, Mulhern said.
The Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1975 requires the five-year review.
• American burying beetle
• Ellipse mussel
• Elktoe mussel
• Flat floater mussel
• Mucket mussel
• Neosho mucket mussel
• Optiosevus riffle beetle
• Rabbitsfoot mussel
• Slender walker snail
• Western fanshell mussel
• Arkansas River shiner
• Arkansas River speckled chub
• Pallid Sturgeon
• Sicklefin chub
• Silver chub
• Cave salamander
• Many-ribbed salamander
• Grotto salamander
• Black-capped vireo
• Eskimo curlew
• Least tern
• Whooping crane
• Black-footed ferret
• Gray myotis
Information by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism