JEFFERSON CITY — Federal officials are seeking public comment on proposals for protecting several endangered animals and plants in Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said new species have been listed, new critical habitats have been designated and new populations have been identified.
The plan adds guidelines for several endangered and threatened species, including the Ozark hellbender. Critical habitat also is designated for an endangered plant, called running buffalo clover, that was discovered in the forest.
The proposals also add protections to three bat species — the little brown, tri-colored and northern — that are not endangered but declining.
Public comments can be submitted until Nov. 1.
The Mark Twain National Forest has 1.5 million acres in 29 counties in southern and central Missouri.