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Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel

ESA Status: Threatened

The northern Idaho ground squirrel (Urocitellus brunneus) was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in April 2000. Populations of this subspecies can only be found in Adams and Valley Counties of western Idaho. It is estimated the population of squirrels has declined by 80% from initial surveys in 1985.

In September 2003, a final Recovery Plan was released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), with state of Idaho input. The full version of the Recovery Plan can be read here Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel Recovery Plan. A revision has been recommended in both the 2011 and 2017 USFWS 5-year status reviews for the species due to enhanced and increased information about the species biology, habitat, and threats. In May 2019, the USFWS stated that they are initiating the Recovery Planning and Implementation process. The USFWS reached out to the state of Idaho to be involved in the creation of a Species Status Assessment (SSA) to inform future recovery planning efforts for the northern Idaho ground squirrel. “The northern Idaho ground squirrel SSA will generate information to guide species conservation…Completing the SSA will take approximately 9-12 months, likely occurring in early 2020. After completion of the SSA, we will begin a revision of the recovery plan. The SSA, the recovery plan, and the recovery implementation strategy (to be developed in conjunction with the recovery plan) comprise the three parts of the Recovery Planning and Implementation process.” (USFWS May 2019)

Staff Contact:

Joshua Uriarte and Jace Hogg

Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel
Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel Photo Public Domain by Diane Evans-Mack, Idaho Department of Fish and Game
N. Id Ground Squirrel Range Map
Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel Range
Map Credit: Idaho Department of Fish and Game
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