Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Spring Mountains Acastus Checkerspot Butterfly to be Reviewed for Possible Protection

Apr 12, 2011

For Immediate Release  
Date: April 12, 2011    

Contact: Dan Balduini, (702) 515-5480

Spring Mountains Acastus Checkerspot Butterfly to be Reviewed for Possible Protection
under the Endangered Species Act

LAS VEGAS -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or FWS) will conduct an in-depth status review of the Spring Mountains acastus checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne acastus robusta) to determine if it warrants federal protection as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA or Act).  The 90-day finding is scheduled for publication in the Federal Register on Wednesday, April 13, 2011.

This finding was prepared in response to a formal petition received on September 18, 2009, from Bruce M. Boyd, asking the Service to list the Spring Mountains acastus checkerspot butterfly as an endangered species under emergency listing provisions of the ESA.  While the Service determined that an emergency listing action was not warranted, the agency did find that the petition contained substantial information indicating the butterfly might warrant protection under the Act, and a 90-day status review ensued.  Issuance of this finding opens a 60-day public comment period and signals the beginning of a 12-month status review of the Spring Mountains acastus checkerspot butterfly. 

The Spring Mountains acastus checkerspot butterfly is a subspecies of the sagebrush checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne acastus) belonging to the Nymphalidae family (brush-footed butterflies).  The subspecies is only known to occur in the Spring Mountains in Clark and Nye counties, Nevada at elevations from approximately 5,900 to 8,900 feet above sea level.   

The Spring Mountains acastus checkerspot butterfly occurs throughout the Spring Mountains and has been observed in 17 areas.  Four of these areas (1-Trough Spring, 2-Kyle Canyon, 3-Griffith Peak Trail/Harris Spring Road/Harris Mountain Road, and 4-Potosi Mountain/Mt. Potosi/Boy Scout Camp) are currently the only known locations where populations occur.

To ensure the 12-month status review is comprehensive, the Service is soliciting information from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, Native American Tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning the status of the Spring Mountains acastus checkerspot butterfly.  Details on specific information FWS is seeking are included in the finding. 

Based on the in-depth status review, the Service will issue a 12-month finding on the petition, making one of three possible determinations:

     1) Listing is not warranted, in which case no further action will be taken.

     2) Listing as threatened or endangered is warranted.  In this case, the Service will publish a proposal to list, solicit independent scientific peer review of the proposal, seek input from the public, and consider the input before a final decision about listing the subspecies is made.  In general, there is a one-year period between the time a listing is proposed and the final decision.

     3) Listing is warranted but precluded by other, higher priority activities.  This means the butterfly is added to the federal list of candidate species, and the proposal to list is deferred while the Service works on listing proposals for other species that are at greater risk.  A warranted but precluded finding requires subsequent annual reviews of the finding until such time as either a listing proposal is published, or a not warranted finding is made based on new information.

Anyone wishing to submit information regarding the Spring Mountains acastus checkerspot butterfly may do so by the following methods:

     • Federal eRulemaking Portal:  www.regulations.gov.  Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
 
     • U.S. mail or hand-delivery:  Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2010–0077; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.

Emails and faxes will not be accepted, and all information received on www.regulations.gov will be posted.  This generally means the Service will post any personal information provided.  Comments must be received by June 13, 2011. 

For more information about the Spring Mountains acastus checkerspot butterfly and this finding, please contact Jill Ralston, Deputy State Supervisor, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office by mail at 1340 Financial Blvd., Suite 234, Reno, NV, 89502; by telephone at 775-861-6300; or by facsimile at 775-861-6301.  Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339, or visit the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office website at www.fws.gov/nevada.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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