West Coast
U.S. Geological Survey

CA - Sea Star Protection Poised to Impact California Coastal Plans

Global warming, coastal development among species’ threats. Decision on sea star protection expected by August

The Biden administration is considering listing the imperiled sunflower sea star as endangered or threatened, possibly requiring California to adapt some coastal climate change measures and other development to protect its habitat.

The National Marine Fisheries Service said Monday that it found merit in the Center for Biological Diversity’s petition to protect the sea star and will decide by August whether to list it under the Endangered Species Act.

If the agency decides to protect the sea star, it’ll draft a rule and ask for public comment before publishing a final rule at a later date.

The service hasn’t yet determined what measures developers would need to take to help protect the sea star if it’s listed, said Michael Milstein, spokesman for the West Coast Region of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, which oversees the service.

“Because we are just beginning the status review of the species it would be premature to speculate on what protections the species might need, or what effects they might have,” Milstein said.

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