May 28, 2014
USFWS to have public hearing on
listing red knot as threatened
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have an informational session and
public hearing on listing the rufa red knot as a threatened species on
Thursday, June 5 from 5 until 8 p.m. at the Alligator National Wildlife
Refuge Headquarters in Manteo.
The information session will be from 5 until 6:30, followed by public comments from 7 until 8.
The rufa red
knot is a robin-sized shorebird that visits the U.S. on its annual
journey between the tips of the Americas. Dwindling population numbers
and increased risks prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to
propose listing the rufa red knot
as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
to the ESA, the word “endangered” means a species is at the brink
of extinction now. “Threatened” means a species is likely to be
at the brink in the near future.
the conservation benefits authorized for threatened and endangered
plants and animals are: protection from being jeopardized by federal
activities; restrictions on take (harm, injure or harass) and
trafficking; a requirement that the FWS develop and implement
recovery plans for listed species under U.S. jurisdiction;
authorization to seek land purchases or exchanges for important
habitat; and federal aid to state and commonwealth conservation
departments with cooperative endangered species agreements. Listing
also lends greater recognition to a species' precarious status,
encouraging conservation effort by other agencies (foreign, federal,
state, and local), independent organizations, and concerned individuals.
the red knot as threatened provides flexibilities that are not
available for endangered species such as increased management
flexibility for states, increased permitting authority for the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service for scientific, educational and other
purposes, and the potential for special regulations that reduce or
expand the normal protections if necessary under Section 4(d) of
The Service takes the step of listing species as threatened or endangered because of any of the following factors:
- The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
- Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
- Disease or predation;
- The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms;
- Other natural or manmade factors affecting its survival.
the U.S., the rufa red knot is typically found along the East Coast.
The knots tend to gather in marshes and shallow beach areas where they
find food and shelter. In North Carolina, the knots feed mostly
on coquina clams (Donax), sand fleas, mole crabs and other crabs.
This migratory bird does not reproduce in North Carolina or stay here
consistently year round in large numbers. During northern
migration, some knots don’t reach all the way to the Arctic and they
spend the summer in North Carolina before they resume their migration.
Some knots overwinter in North Carolina instead of moving farther
south, but how many knots or where they stay can vary from year to year.
is no total population number for how many red knots stop-over or
winter in North Carolina because the number can vary from year to year
depending on available food resources and because there has been a lack
of consistent long-term surveys. However, from 2009 to 2012,
during North Carolina May spring peak migration, counts reported about
1,400 to 2,800 red knots. Incidental red knot sightings from the
2001 and 2006 wintering piping plover surveys reported 455 and 157 red
knots, respectively, but these may be an under-representation because
red knots, while counted using consistent methodology, were not the
target of the survey efforts.
largest concentration of knots is found in May in Delaware Bay, where
studies show knots nearly double their weight to prepare for the final
leg of their long migration to the Arctic. One bird, called B95 from
the numbered flag scientists have attached to his leg, has been
nicknamed the “Moonbird” because he has flown the equivalent of a
trip to the moon and at least halfway back in his 20 or more years of
The Service is inviting the public to provide comments on or before June 15, 2014 by one of three methods:
a public hearing, preceded by an information sessions on June 5 from 5
until 8 p.m. at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges Visitor
Center located at 100 Conservation Way,Manteo, NC 27954. Call
252-933-2255 to request reasonable accommodations for disabilities by
May 30. TTY/TDD users, please dial 1-800-877-8339.
- Comment online now. Visit http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2013-0097.
or hand-deliver your comments to: Public Comments Processing, Attn:
Docket No. FWS-R5-ES-2013-0097, Division of Policy and Directives
Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS
2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203.
Service proposed to list the knot on September 30, 2013. Comments
provided during the first comment period need not be resubmitted, as
those are already part of the administrative record. For more
information visit www.fws.gov/raleigh.
View this video about the red knot in North Carolina, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyqo2HzjPxw&feature=youtu.be