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Draft Economic Analysis of Proposed Critical Habitat for Endangered Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly Released
Midwest Region, March 20, 2007
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Estimated costs associated with conservation activities for the endangered Hine’s emerald (Somatochlora hineana) in areas proposed as critical habitat for the species may range from $16.8 to $46.7 million over the next 20 years, according to a draft economic analysis released today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

In releasing the analysis, the Service also reopened the public comment period on a proposal to designate critical habitat for the dragonfly and announced the inclusion of an additional proposed critical habitat unit in Door County, Wisconsin.  The Service will accept public comments until April 3, 2007.  

The Hine’s emerald dragonfly is protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as an endangered species.  Responding to a court order, on July 26, 2006, the Service published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly. 

In total, approximately 27,836 acres fall within the boundaries of the proposed critical habitat units in Cook, DuPage, and Will Counties in Illinois; Alpena, Mackinac, and Presque Isle Counties in Michigan; Dent, Iron, Morgan, Phelps, Reynolds, Ripley, Shannon, Washington, and Wayne Counties in Missouri; and Door and Ozaukee Counties in Wisconsin. 

Under provisions of the ESA, the Service is considering excluding all units in Missouri and two units in Michigan from the critical habitat designation.  Exclusions under consideration by the Service are based on conservation partnerships on non-Federal lands, conservation agreements, and forest plans.

Critical habitat is a provision of the ESA that identifies specific geographic areas that contain features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and which may require special management considerations. 

The designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or other special conservation area.  It does not allow government or public access to private lands.  However, Federal agencies that undertake, fund or permit activities that may affect critical habitat are required to consult with the Service to ensure such actions do not adversely modify or destroy designated critical habitat.

When specifying an area as critical habitat, the ESA requires the Service to consider economic and other relevant impacts of the designation.  If the benefits of excluding an area outweigh the benefits of designating it, the Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat, unless that would result in the extinction of a threatened or endangered species.  Most of the costs linked to conservation of the Hine’s emerald dragonfly are associated with the residential and commercial development industry.

The Hine's emerald dragonfly has bright emerald-green eyes and a metallic green body with yellow stripes on its sides.  Its body is about 2.5 inches long; its wingspan reaches about 3.3 inches.  It lives in calcareous (high in calcium carbonate) spring-fed marshes and sedge meadows overlaying dolomite bedrock. 

Identified threats include habitat destruction or alteration, contamination of wetlands by pesticides or other pollutants, woody encroachment, beaver dams, residential and commercial development, and decreases in the amount or quality of ground water flowing to the dragonfly’s habitat.

In 30 years of implementing the ESA, the Service has found the designation of critical habitat provides little additional protection for most listed species, while preventing the agency from using scarce conservation resources for activities with greater conservation benefits

In almost all cases, recovery of listed species will come through voluntary cooperative partnerships, not regulatory measures such as critical habitat.  Habitat is also protected through cooperative measures under the ESA, including Habitat Conservation Plans, Safe Harbor Agreements, Candidate Conservation Agreements and state programs. 

In addition, voluntary partnership programs such as the Service's Private Stewardship Grants and the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program also restore habitat.  Habitat for listed species is provided on many of the Service's National Wildlife Refuges, and state wildlife management areas.

The notice of availability of the draft economic analysis will be published in the Federal Register on March 20, 2007.  The complete report and the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly are available at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Endangered/. Copies may also be obtained by calling the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chicago Illinois Ecological Services Field Office at (847) 381–2253.

Comments may be sent via e-mail to hedch@fws.gov.  Comments and information may also be mailed or faxed to Field Supervisor, Chicago Illinois Ecological Services Field Office, 1250 S. Grove, Suite 103, Barrington, Illinois 60010; facsimile (847) 381–2285.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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