US Fish and Wildlife Service Temporarily Adds New Animal To Endangered List

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by: Don and Melinda Crawford/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

There is a new animal on the endangered species list after a small toad outside Reno, Nevada caused some disruption. There are activists working to protect the species, however, the federal government has stepped in and is labeling the Dixie Valley toad endangered. This is only the second time emergency powers like this have been used in the last twenty years.

The emergency listing is already in effect. It will last for eight months while officials work on a more permanent solution.

At a Glance

  • The Dixie Valley toad is a new animal on the endangered species list
  • This is an emergency listing and will be in effect immediately and for the next 8 months
  • A geothermal power plant outside Reno, NV has concerned activists for some time
  • This area of northern Nevada is the only place on the planet these toads can be found

The Fish and Wildlife Service is behind the move. They are working within the guidelines laid out in the Endangered Species Act.

“Protecting small population species like this ensures the continued biodiversity necessary to maintain climate resilient landscapes in one of the driest states in the country,” the FWS said in a statement.

Right now, it isn’t clear what will happen with the geothermal powerplant that is being built in the area. Activists, including conservationists and tribal members from local Native tribes have raised concerns about the plant in the past. There is currently a lawsuit attempting to block the plant from being built. It is located roughly 100 miles outside of Reno, to the east.

According to the company behind the plant, they do not believe there will be any issues. They claim to have come up with a mitigation plan to offset “potential environmental impacts.”

“Ormat long recognized the importance of conserving the Dixie Valley toad, regardless of its legal status,” Ormat’s VP Paul Thomsen said. “Ormat will coordinate with relevant agencies to ensure that any additional required process is met while we continue our work on this important renewable energy project.”

New Animal on the Endangered List Raises Questions

Right now, the one thing that is clear is that this new listing just adds more questions to the situation. It sounds like a local organization trying to do what’s best for their community. The Dixie Valley toad resides in wetlands and near hot springs that exist right next to the construction site. So, it’s understandable why there is concern from locals and federal officials.

The first effort to get the toad listed was in 2017. Since then, others have tried their best. Now, with the new listing there can be some more work done. Hopefully, the issue is resolved and all the little toads are kept safe.