Every five years, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) staff review the state Endangered, Threatened and Species-in-need-of-conservation (SINC) lists. These lists were authorized by the Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1975 and are in KDWPT Regulations 115-15-1 and 115-15-2.
The review process begins with a request for petitions to change listings, which was initiated last February. A seven-member Threatened and Endangered Species Task Committee, made up of members representing various disciplines, including staff from state and federal agencies and state universities, then determines if petitions merit full reviews.
For the current five-year review, three petitions with supporting evidence were submitted that the Task Committee determined warrant a full review. The committee will review a petition to move the Arkansas darter from the Threatened list to the SINC List; a petition to move the cylindrical papershell mussel from the SINC list to the Endangered Species List; and a petition to remove the Wabash pigtoe mussel from the SINC list.
The full review process must also include informational meetings and consultation with a panel of experts who complete a numerical evaluation and provide input regarding any information overlooked in the petition. A final recommendation will be provided to the KDWPT Secretary and Commission based on scientific merit. After a 90-day public comment period, the Commission will vote on listing changes at a Public Hearing.
Informational meetings are scheduled for:
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2 p.m., KDWPT Region 2 Office, Basement Conference Room, 300 SW Wannamaker Road
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, 3 p.m., Pittsburg State University, Overman Student Center, Governor’s Room, 302 E Cleveland Ave.
Thursday, Jan. 24, 3 p.m., Fort Hays State University, Sternberg Museum, 3000 Sternberg Dr.
Friday, Jan. 25, 11 a.m., KDWPT Operations Office, Basement Conference Room, 512 SE 25th Ave.
The Arkansas darter(Etheostoma cragini)is a small bottom-dwelling fish that inhabits clear spring-fed streams with aquatic vegetation where it feeds mostly on aquatic insects. The petition states that it is one of the more common fish species where it occurs and it is resilient to drought and poor water quality. Although it has disappeared from some watersheds due to lack of water, it has been documented for the first time in two other watersheds and its numbers are stable. The majority of the Arkansas darter’s range is in southcentral Kansas. The number of sites where it has been found has increased more than tenfold since it was first listed as Threatened in 1978.
The cylindrical papershell (Anodontoides ferussacianus) is a relatively short-lived (10 years) freshwater mussel that was formerly documented in most rivers of northern Kansas. Currently, it is found in limited reaches of the Smoky Hill and Saline rivers. Currently on the SINC list, it is petitioned to be moved to the state Endangered List, the most imperiled category. Mussel larvae (glochidia) require attachment to a fish host to metamorphose to the juvenile stage before dropping off. While the cylindrical papershell can use several fish species as hosts for its glochidia, the petition cites loss of flowing-water habitat and climate change as factors in the decline of this mussel.
The Wabash pigtoe (Fusconaia flava)is a heavy-shelled freshwater mussel found in the rivers of eastern Kansas. This mussel was petitioned for removal from the SINC list due to evidence of a healthy population in Kansas. At some locations, it is the most numerous mussel present and the population has increased significantly in the Verdigris River since the early 1990s. It is also considered common in other southeast Kansas rivers. It is apparently not limited by fish host availability because it uses shiners and minnows.