The US Fish and Wildlife Service has announced its annual list of proposed candidates for the endangered species list. 12 of them are in Kentucky. And all twelve of the animal and plant species proposed for listing this year have actually been candidates for many years. Some, like the spectaclecase mussel, have been proposed but not actually listed, since 1984. The Louisville cave beetle has been proposed since 1994. And the white, fringeless orchid has been biding its time on the candidate list since 1980. US Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Debra Bills says not every candidate will be found officially endangered.
“There are many, many things that could happen to a species that’s on the list. There could be a conservation strategy developed with the state. There could be a plan developed that would preclude the need to list. Sometimes we get to a species and it’s too late,” says Mills.
It may soon be too late for some of the region’s mussel species, many of which have already gone extinct.