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Karner Blue Butterfly
Update to Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Plan; Inclusion of Michigan Oak Openings Potential Recovery Unit
The Recovery Plan was revised to add the Michigan Oak Openings Potential Recovery Unit. Official revision of the Plan was accomplished by providing this memorandum to the Recovery Team and other recovery partners.
To: Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Team and Recovery Partners
From: Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Coordinator
Subject: Update to Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Plan; Inclusion of Michigan Oak Openings Potential Recovery Unit
This is to advise the Karner Blue Butterfly (KBB) Recovery Team and recovery partners of an update to the Final KBB Recovery Plan completed in 2003. Specifically, a new Potential Recovery Unit (PRU) is being added to the recovery plan, the Michigan Oak Openings PRU.
In 2006, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MIDNR) requested that the Ohio DNR (ODNR) endorse the inclusion of Michigan's proposed Oak Opening PRU within the boundaries of the existing Oak Openings PRU in Ohio (MIDNR letter dated April 3, 2006, to Mr. Bill Roshak, ODNR). The Ohio Oak Opening PRU is located just south of the proposed Michigan Oak Opening PRU (refer to Attachments 1 and 2) where an on-going KBB reintroduction is helping to restore a viable population of the butterfly to the oak openings of northwest Ohio. The request to include the Michigan Oak Opening PRU was made by MIDNR as they would like to reintroduce the KBB into the Petersburg State Game Area (PSGA) which occurs in this proposed PRU; they would also like to clarify the reintroduction's contribution to meeting the objectives of the Recovery Plan. In this case, as with the other six existing KBB PRUs there would be no assigned recovery goals identified for the Michigan PRU, however, if a KBB population is recovered in any PRU it can be used to offset the need to recover a KBB population in the next nearest full RU (refer to the KBB Recovery Plan, p. B-27). In their letter of September 8, 2006, ODNR endorsed the inclusion of the PSGA within the boundaries of the Ohio Oak Openings PRU.
Further discussions regarding the proposed Michigan Oak Openings PRU resulted in identifying it as a separate PRU from the Ohio PRU. Maps from about 1800 show a swath of soils (about 6 miles wide at the narrowest) more amenable to beech-sugar maple forest lying between Petersburg SGA and the Ohio KBB reintroduction sites (Chris Hoving, MIDNR, pers. comm., 2010) providing a likely barrier to dispersal between the two sites.
It was also determined that the Michigan Oak Opening PRU would include the area that had historically supported KBBs (rather than including the larger Oak Opening area based on the 1995 regional landscape ecosystem classification by Dennis Albert) as this approach would be consistent with that of the other PRUs in the KBB Recovery Plan. The Michigan Oak Openings PRU will therefore focus on restoring the KBB Raisin River Metapopulation which includes PSGA where KBBs were historically present. This focal area includes lands in Monroe County (the most southeastern county in Michigan), Wayne and Washtenaw (spelling corrected March 7, 2011; was Washington in original memo) counties; an area about 23 miles long by 5 miles wide (refer to Oak Openings PRU map, Attachment 3). The shaded areas (of the map) have the greatest potential for KBB restoration. The Recovery Team approved this Michigan Oak Opening PRU map during the March 23, 2008, KBB Recovery Team Conference Call.
Prior to reintroduction of KBBs at PSGA, the MIDNR held a public meeting to discuss statewide and local plans for recovery of the butterfly and found the public supportive of the reintroduction plan. Aggressive habitat management to maintain and restore oak barrens is underway at PSGA. Since 2008, several hundred KBBs have been released at the site, including the release of 503 butterflies in 2010. In 2010, first flight wild KBBs were found indicating the presence of a small wild KBB population at the site. The captive rearing work is being done by the Detroit Zoo (Detroit, Michigan) with assistance of the Toledo Zoo (Toledo, Ohio).
In summary, the KBB Recovery Plan (2003) is being updated to include the Michigan Oak Opening PRU as detailed in Attachment 3. Two Figures in the KBB Recovery Plan have been revised to include this new PRU; those are"figure B-1 Map showing range-wide recovery units for the Karner blue butterfly" (Attachment 1), and "figure B-3 Karner blue butterfly units in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio" (Attachment 2). This memorandum and attached maps provide the documentation supporting and describing this update to the KBB Recovery Plan. To help insure that the Recovery Team and recovery partners are advised of this recovery plan update, this memo and attached maps will be emailed to the Recovery Team and recovery partners and posted on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Midwest website at: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/insects/kbb/index.html.
Last updated: February 20, 2013