HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – The US Fish and Wildlife Service is checking the status of four endangered species in Kentucky.

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, on May 10, the Service announced that 67 southeastern fish, wildlife and plant species would be undergoing five-year status reviews as part of the process mandated under the Endangered Species Act. Officials say included in these 67 species are are four species native to Kentucky. All four are aquatic species, and they are the Cumberland darter, fanshell, oyster mussell and the pink ring mussel. 

A spokesperson for the Service says, “A five-year review utilizes the best available scientific and commercial data on a species to determine whether a species status has changed since the time of its listing or its last status review. Upon completion of a five-year review, we can make four possible recommendations: reclassify the species from threatened to endangered (uplist), reclassify the species from endangered to threatened (downlist), remove the species from the List (delist), maintain the species’ current classification.”

Officials say currently, all four species are listed as endangered. They also note a five-year review does not automatically change a species’ protections or status; it only presents recommendations. Officials say any change to a species’ federal status requires a separate rulemaking process which is published in the Federal Register which is open to public comment and subject to peer review.