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RELEASE: 6/25/01
CONTACT: Sharon A. Southard or Dade Thornton
609-984-1795 or 609-292-1942


The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is proposing to classify two species of freshwater mussels, Brook Floater and Green Floater; and three species of butterflies, Appalachian Grizzled Skipper, Arogos Skipper, and Bronze Copper, as endangered.

"Sustaining the diversity of New Jersey's environment is one of our most important goals," said DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn. "Diversity is essential to the health of the state's ecosystems."

At the same time, five species of freshwater mussels and three species of butterflies are to be added to the threatened species list. The freshwater mussels to be added consist of Eastern Lampmussel, Tidewater Mucket, Yellow Lampmussel, Triangle Floater, and Eastern Pondmussel. The three types of butterflies that are also to be listed as threatened are Checkered White, Frosted Elfin, and Silver-bordered Fritillary.

According to the Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act of 1973, the term "endangered species" means any species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. "Threatened species," means any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future. These endangered and threatened organisms require human assistance to prevent future extinction.

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife determines the status of a particular species based on a variety of factors including populations, distribution, habitat needs and other biological and ecological data. The present additions to the lists were made due to a reduction in the species' population numbers. The most common reasons for the decline of a species' population are loss or change in habitat, over-exploitation, predation, competition, disease, or contamination.

Presently, only one freshwater mussel, the Dwarf Wedgemussel, and one species of butterfly, Mitchell's Satyr, are on the state's Endangered and Threatened Wildlife List. In comparison, of the 60 species now on the list, birds and reptiles make up exactly two-thirds of that number, with 30 bird species and 10 types of reptiles.

The proposal is scheduled to appear in the July 2 "New Jersey Register." Comments may be forwarded to Karen Hershey, Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Legal Affairs, P.O. Box 402, Trenton, NJ 08625-0402.


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