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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proposes upgrade of the wood stork’s status

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is proposing to upgrade the status of the wood stork¬†from “endangered” to “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposal is based on a comprehensive agency review that determined there has been a substantial improvement in the wood stork?s breeding population and an expansion of its breeding range which extends from Florida north to North Carolina and west to Mississippi.

Fish & Wildlife Service officials will decide how to proceed with the upgrade following the current “public comment” period that concludes on February 25, 2013.Information on this proposed reclassification and public comment submission is included on the attached news release from the federal agency.

Although the wildlife service had been monitoring the wood stork?s recovery status, their formal review during the past year was prompted by a petition from the Florida Home Builders Association.

“The proposed reclassification would not change any conservation or protection measures for the wood stork under the ESA,” according to the wildlife service’s news release. “”Rather it would recognize the stork?s ongoing recovery and the positive impact that collaborative conservation efforts over the last two decades have had on breeding populations.””

The reclassification is being opposed by some environmental groups, especially in Florida. They argue that although the wood stork population may be increasing in other states, the bird’s status still is endangered here, particularly in South Florida

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