Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson is applauding a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to delist the Hualapai Mexican Vole from the Endangered Species list. The Vole was listed as endangered in 1987 and has since made it harder for Mohave County Officials to go forward with economic development on public lands.
“The listing was based off of old data from the 1980’s,” Supervisor Johnson stated. “Back then they believed the Vole was only confined mainly to the Hualapai Mountain area in Kingman. New scientific research has shown this to be untrue, and many believe the Vole is a lot more widespread across the state than originally thought,” Johnson continued.
The Hualapai Mexican Vole is a 4- to 6-inch mouse like rodent that is found in mostly moist areas near permanent or semi-permanent bodies of water and ponderosa pine trees. The rodent eats mainly the grasses that commonly surround its habitat. The US FWS claimed in their listing in 1987 that the Vole was being threatened by livestock grazing, human recreation and other activities.
The FWS announced in 2010 that they would be reviewing several endangered species statues and the Mexican Vole was one of them.
“I would like to thank the Fish and Wildlife for their diligent work on this issue,” Johnson said. “They really did a lot in making sure it wasn’t endangered and then moving forward to make the delisting happen when they could have looked the other way.”
Supervisor Johnson said that over the years the listing of the Vole has hindered ranching in some areas of the county along with economic development.
“During my first term in office, I tried to blade a public scenic road from Yucca to the Hualapai Mountains to create a day trip for folks to escape the hot desert. It would have added to the experience of Mohave County, expanded our use of the area and increased economic opportunities,” Johnson explained. “But due to the area being protected because of the vole, the proposal was not feasible. Areas like this are public land that should be available to the citizens of Mohave County.”
The U.S. Endangered Species Act requires that the determination to delist a species be based solely on scientific evidence. The US FWS stated that they had not proposed “delisting” the vole because its population was stabilizing. In a Federal Register posting, FWS Officials said they no longer believe the vole to be a subspecies of the larger Mexican vole species.
The Mohave County Board of Supervisors passed Resolutions supporting the delisting in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
“As scientific analysis becomes better, we are able to truly protect those species that need it and are able to delist the ones that don’t. The inaccurate listing of this vole has caused problems not just for Mohave County government, but for the citizens, as well,” Johnson ended.
To read the Final Rule by US FWS on the Hualapai Mexican Vole please click here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-06-23/pdf/2017-13162.pdf