Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

April 28, 2009  

Contacts:  June DeWeese 308-382-6468

                Diane Katzenberger 303-236-4578

 

Comment Period Reopened on Proposal to Designate Critical Habitat for the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the reopening of the comment period on its proposal to designation critical habitat for the Salt Creek tiger beetle and to advise the public of new proposed revisions.

 

Based on public comments received during the initial comment period from peer reviewers and others, the Service is proposing to add a total of 138 acres of habitat determined to be occupied and essential to the Salt Creek tiger beetle.  As a result, the proposed revised critical habitat designation for the Salt Creek tiger beetle now totals approximately 1,933 acres.  Adding these acres will provide for the varied habitat needs of the species; help ensure that some habitat is available if flood events cause these habitats to shift locations along Little Salt Creek; and provide a movement corridor between the critical habitat areas on Little Salt Creek.

 

The public will have until May 28, 2009 to submit scientific information regarding the proposal to the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov or via U.S. mail or hand delivery to:  Public Comments Processing, Attn:  FWS-R6-ES-2007-0014; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.

 

The proposed critical habitat is located in Lancaster and Saunders counties, Nebraska, in saline wetland and stream complexes found along Little Salt and Rock creeks.  The Service is seeking comments and information from the public on all aspects of the critical habitat proposal, including the draft Economic Analysis and draft Environmental Assessment.  Information previously submitted for the proposal need not be resubmitted as it has already been incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in any final decision.

 

This announcement is published in today’s Federal Register.  For more information, please visit the Service’s web site at:  http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/invertebrates/saltcreektiger/index.htm

 

Considered one of the rarest insects in the United States, the Salt Creek tiger beetle was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in October 2005.  Loss of saline wetland and stream habitats and changes in watershed-level hydrology were the main causes for the decline of the beetle.  Since the late 1800s, more than 90 percent of the wetlands have been lost to development and modifications to hydrology. There are three populations of the beetle located along Little Salt Creek in Nebraska: the Arbor Lake, Roper, and Upper Little Salt Creek-North populations. 

 

The original proposal to designate 1,795 acres of land as critical habitat was published on December 12, 2007. 

 

The Salt Creek tiger beetle is considered a “bio-indicator” species.  Its presence signals the existence of a healthy saline wetland and stream system. Intact, these systems provide numerous benefits for people as well as wildlife, including water purification, flood control, and outdoor recreation opportunities. The beetle is metallic brown to dark-olive green with a metallic dark green underside.  It measures about 0.5-inch in total length, and is native to eastern Nebraska’s saline wetlands.

 

Tiger beetles are active, ground-dwelling, predatory insects that capture smaller or similar-sized arthropods in a “tiger-like” manner, grasping prey with their mandibles or mouthparts. Because of their interesting behavior and variety of forms and habitats, tiger beetles as a group have been extensively studied.

 

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.

 

-FWS-