"Federal Judge Strikes Down Ruling That Hellbenders Are Not Endangered"

"A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take another look at its 2019 decision denying endangered status protection for the eastern hellbender, the nation’s largest aquatic salamander that is found in low numbers in all Chesapeake Bay drainage states.

On Sept. 5, Judge Lewis Liman in a U.S. District Court in New York voided the federal agency’s 2019 decision. Liman ruled that one of the agency’s determinations that hellbenders were not threatened or endangered because of emerging conservation and reintroduction efforts could not be assumed to head off population declines.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance and Waterkeeper Chesapeake had sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2021 over denying endangered protection status for the hellbender, Pennsylvania’s state amphibian."

Ad Crable reports for the Bay Journal September 11, 2023.

Source: Bay Journal, 09/18/2023