DNR Question of Week: How is state doing on endangered species list?Minnesota has a number of species on the state’s list of endangered, threatened and special concern species. How far have we come in helping to protect and re-establish these populations? Are we close to removing any from these lists?
The following is a Department of Natural Resources "Question of the Week."
Q: Minnesota has a number of species on the state’s list of endangered, threatened and special concern species. How far have we come in helping to protect and re-establish these populations? Are we close to removing any from these lists?
A: Minnesota has a total of 96 endangered, 101 threatened and 242 special concern species. The management and recovery of Minnesota's listed species is a major responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Recovery over the past decade of high-profile species such as the gray wolf, trumpeter swan, peregrine falcon and bald eagle are testimony to the effectiveness of the endangered species laws and the DNR’s species management efforts. Additional populations of some listed species, such as the threatened Blanding's turtle, have been discovered. The endangered Higgins eye pearly mussel has a brighter future thanks to captive breeding and subsequent release into restored habitats. Active management programs are also underway for recovery of the Karner blue butterfly, timber rattlesnake, Topeka shiner (minnow), and many other plant and animal species. As some species rebound, others, such as the piping plover, continue to decline due to a loss of habitat.
Federal funds and private landowners are key to the success of many programs. Donations to the Nongame Wildlife Checkoff on state tax forms are used to match federal wildlife grant and endangered species funds to protect Minnesota's endangered and threatened wildlife species.
- Rich Baker, DNR endangered species coordinator