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More about the Letter from Biologists Concerning Science in the Endangered Species Act (2006)

Update: Biologists organized a similar letter in April of 2009, urging the Obama administration to restore the scientific foundation of the Endangered Species Act

The Letter from Biologists to the U.S. Senate Concerning Science in the Endangered Species Act was a tremendous success and demonstrates the importance of science and scientists to protect species and their habitats. Over 5,700 scientists with biological expertise signed their name to the letter, with at least 26 from every state and over 900 institutions. This is an extraordinary response from the scientific community given that the letter was open for signatures for just over one month. The signers include: 

  • 5,738 Signers
  • At least 26 signers from every state, many with a few hundred
  • Over 900 institutions represented
  • 39 National Academy of Science members
  • 12 MacArthur Genius Award recipients
  • 6 National Medal of Science recipients
  • 2 Crafoord Prize recipients

Signers by State
Click on your state to download signers from your region.

Alabama: 39 Kentucky: 42 North Dakota: 31 
Alaska: 69  Louisiana: 59  Ohio: 148
Arizona: 120 Maine: 48  Oklahoma: 51 
Arkansas: 30  Maryland: 113  Oregon: 177 
California: 913 Massachusetts: 195  Pennsylvania: 153 
Colorado: 133 Michigan: 155 Rhode Island: 106
Connecticut: 99 Minnesota: 78  South Carolina: 124 
Delaware: 28 Mississippi: 38  South Dakota: 32 
District of Columbia: 52 Missouri: 88  Tennessee: 96 
Florida: 287 Montana: 68 Texas: 137 
Georgia: 82 Nebraska: 31  Utah: 66 
Hawaii: 69 Nevada: 60  Vermont: 49 
Idaho: 55 New Hampshire: 46  Virginia: 128 
Illinois: 185 New Jersey: 88  Washington: 190 
Indiana: 82   New Mexico: 132  West Virginia: 26
Iowa: 52  New York: 292 Wisconsin: 119
Kansas: 75 North Carolina: 156  Wyoming: 32 

 U.S. Territories
 Guam: 1   Virgin Islands: 7    Puerto Rico: 6

The sign-on letter concept originated in discussions among a small group of scientists, who agreed on the main concepts and drafted the letter text. The letter was then widely circulated to biologists around the country. The Union of Concerned Scientists played a coordinating role in collecting signatures and producing the letter for the Senate in collaboration with Earthjustice and the National Wildlife Federation. The initial scientists included: David Bain, University of Washington; C. Ronald Carroll, University of Georgia; Melissa Grigione, University of South Florida; Lynn Maguire, Duke University; Dennis Murphy, University of Nevada, Reno; Bruce Pavlik, Mills College; and Stuart Pimm, Duke University.

The scientists behind the letter established the criteria to ensure the scientific credibility of the letter. The letter was open to biologists with or working towards an advanced degree, which included both masters and doctoral candidates and medical professionals, as they have a particular understanding of biology and human health. In addition, on a case-by-case basis, individuals who do not have an advanced degree but who have extensive life experience working in the field that gives them particular knowledge of species and their habitats were included. Signers had the option to sign without an affiliation.

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