The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for failing to protect a rare stonefly found only in Glacier National Park from extinction. Senior Scientist Tierra Curry says the CDC filed a petition to protect the Western Glacier stonefly in 2010, and in 2011 the Service determined that Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted but still hasn’t issued a legally required decision on the petition.

We entered into a lawsuit settlement with the Fish and Wildlife Service several years ago for 757 species so this is one of those species," Curry said. "So we are working together with the Service to develop a plan to get protection for all 757 of these species."

Curry said normally it takes about a year to get species protected under the Endangered Species Act.

"If nothing is done, we could lose the Western Glacier stonefly in as soon as 15 years," Curry said. "All of the glaciers in Glacier National Park are predicted to melt as early as 2030. The United States has to take immediate action. Eventually the glaciers would come back to Glacier and in the meantime, if we had a captive population of the stonefly, then hopefully eventually they could be released back into Glacier National Park someday."

Curry said in the short term, a captive breeding program should be implemented immediately if the Western Glacier stonefly were to be added to the list.