What’s going on?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed to list the Miami cave crayfish as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The rare crustacean lives in the Biscayne Aquifer underneath Miami, a limestone rock full of Swiss cheese-like holes that provides drinking water to millions of Florida residents. The crayfish faces increased threats from climate change as sea levels rise and push salt water deeper into the holes in the aquifer where it lives, a process called saltwater intrusion.

Why it matters.

The Miami cave crayfish is an endemic species, meaning that it is found only in the aquifer underneath Miami and nowhere else in the world. The fate of the crayfish is closely tied to the health of the aquifer, which is threatened by saltwater intrusion. Several land areas within Everglades National Park that feed into the aquifer are protected, but saltwater intrusion and global sea level rise may be outside of the scope of federal and state management agencies’ capabilities.  

What you can do.

Submit public comment to the USFWS before the report is finalized by Nov. 20, 2023 

  1. Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal.
  2. In the Search box, enter FWS–R4–ES–2023–0103, which is the docket number for this rulemaking.  
  3. Then, click on the Search button.  
  4. On the resulting page, in the panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, check the Proposed Rule box to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment.” 

Information from US Fish and Wildlife Service and NatureServe Explorer.