(Photo by Diana Tomback)

In a December 14 press release, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced a final action to list the whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service has concluded that the whitebark pine is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout its range.

Service Regional Director Matt Hogan said, “As a keystone species of the West, extending ESA protections to whitebark pine is critical to not only the tree itself, but also the numerous plants, animals, and watersheds that it supports.”

The final rule to list the whitebark pine as a threatened species and accompanying 4(d) rule is being published today, Dec. 15, in the Federal Register.

Friends of the Inyo prepared comments on the whitebark listing in a letter dated February 1, 2021. In that letter, Policy Director Jora Fogg wrote, “Throughout our 30-year history we have seen the steady die off of whitebark on public lands across the Eastern Sierra. We are pleased to see that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has proposed to list whitebark pine as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act.”

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