Threatened and Endangered Species
We have been head-starting the Blanding’s turtles since we started school in September. The Blanding’s turtle is a threatened species in Massachusetts. Today, you’ll be reading a little about the Threatened and Endangered Species Act in Massachusetts, how an organism or plant makes that list, what in Concord is considered threatened or endangered and how we can alert more people to the threatened and endangered species in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (MESA) reads as follows:
The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act (M.G.L c.131A and regulations 321 CMR 10.00) protects rare species and their habitats by prohibiting the “Take” of any plant or animal species listed as Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern by the MA Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. “Take” is defined as, “in reference to animals to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, hound, kill, trap, capture, collect, process, disrupt the nesting, breeding, feeding or migratory activity or attempt to engage in any such conduct, or to assist such conduct, and in reference to plants, means to collect, pick, kill, transplant, cut or process or attempt to engage or to assist in any such conduct. Disruption of nesting, breeding, feeding or migratory activity may result from, but is not limited to, the modification, degradation or destruction of Habitat.” Permits for taking rare species for scientific, educational, conservation, or management purposes can be granted by the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.
To be selected to be on this list, the law reads:
(5) Criteria for Listing Species. The criteria for determining Endangered, Threatened, or Special Concern status shall be based on biological data, including, but not limited to:
(a) taxonomic status;
(b) reproductive and population status and trends;
(c) whether the species is native or has been introduced;
(d) vulnerability, as determined by threats to the species or its habitat;
(e) specialization, as determined by unique habitat requirements;
(f) restricted distribution, as determined by limited or disjunct geographic range; and
(g) rarity, as determined by a limited number of occurrences or by occurrence in limited numbers.
Definitions of Threatened, Endangered, and Special Concern Organisms
“Endangered” (E) species are native species which are in danger of extinction throughout all or part of their range, or which are in danger of extirpation from Massachusetts, as documented by biological research and inventory.
“Threatened” (T) species are native species which are likely to become endangered in the forseeable future, or which are declining or rare as determined by biological research and inventory.
“Special concern” (SC) species are native species which have been documented by biological research or inventory to have suffered a decline that could threaten the species if allowed to continue unchecked, or which occur in such small numbers or with such restricted distribution or specialized habitat requirements that they could easily become threatened within Massachusetts.
Click here for the list of all the threatened, endangered and special concern species in Concord (you are going to need to scroll down to find Concord)
So, for Wednesday, please answer the following questions:
1. Based on what MESA and the Criteria to be selected on this list says, why do you think the Blanding’s turtle is on this list?
2. How many different species are on the list for Concord? Of these, how many are reptiles and what are the other reptiles in Concord that are also on this list?
3. How do you think more people can learn about Threatened and Endangered Species in Concord? In Massachusetts?