The Endangered Species Act turns 40 on Friday, Dec. 27. Forty years of hard work and dedication by federal and state agencies, state and local governments, and the many conservation organizations have been very successful for helping threatened and endangered wildlife nationwide. Many of the endangered species have been fully recovered were the original species protected by the act. Unfortunately, many more species have been added to the list over the past 40 years.
West Virginia provides habitats to more that 20 endangered and threatened species. Some of the species include, the shale barren rock cress plant, the pink mucket mussel, the Virginia big-eared bat and many more species.
West Virginia is also a part of the Central Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative. This initiative continues to restore the high elevation red spruce habitat needed by the threatened Cheat Mountain salamander and recovered West Virginia northern flying squirrel.
The ESA worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and other organizations on a bridge replacement to transplant the protected mussels in Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia waters. They included the endangered northern riffleshell into the list as well.
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources installed a bat-friendly gate on Trout Cave, to provide more habitation for the Virginia big-eared bats.
For more information on the Endangered Species Act, West Virginia's participation in species conservation, and to see some photos of the endangered animals, click here.