Audubon Great Lakes Statement on Eastern Black Rail Listing Under the Endangered Species Act

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the Eastern black rail a threatened species, but stopped short of stronger protections for designated critical habitat.

Audubon’s Director of Conservation for the Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi Flyway, Nat Miller issued the following statement in response to the announcement on Wednesday, October 7 2020 from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that declared the Eastern black rail a threatened species, but stopped short of stronger protections for designated critical habitat. 

“The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is our nation’s most powerful tool for protecting wildlife. The ESA has a history of remarkable success stories, including the recovery of iconic species that live in the Great Lakes region like the Bald Eagle, Kirtland’s Warbler and Piping Plover. The listing of the Eastern Black Rail sets a path in motion to commit federal, state, private, and non-profit resources to put a spotlight on the needs of this mystical, secretive marshbird. Because this species is so imperiled due to impacts to its habitat—from land use changes, sea level rise, watershed impairment and more—we are dismayed that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not designate critical habitat alongside this listing, and urge it to do so at its first opportunity. Urgent action is needed to invest in habitat projects like marsh restoration and natural infrastructure, and to shift our planet’s dependency from fossil fuels toward renewable energy."

Media Contact: Nicole Minadeo,, 419-308-4846


The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon Great Lakes is a regional office of Audubon, learn more at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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