Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

May 3, 2013

Contacts:
Larry Crist 801-975-3330; larry_crist@fws.gov
Paul Abate 801-975-3330; paul_abate@fws.gov
Leith Edgar 303-236-4588; leith_edgar@fws.gov

 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Announces Availability of an Amendment to a Conservation Agreement for the Coral Pink Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle

Service also Releases Draft Economic Analysis and Draft Environmental Assessment for
Proposed Coral Pink Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle Critical Habitat

Coral Pink Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle Credit: Mark Capone / USFWSThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the availability of an amendment to the conservation agreement for the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle.  The amendment was signed by the Service, the Utah Department of Parks and Recreation, the Bureau of Land Management, and Kane County Utah.  The Service will be considering whether this conservation agreement adequately addresses threats to the species.

The Service also released a draft analysis of the potential economic impacts of a proposal for the critical habitat designation for the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle (Cicindela albissima) today. The species, currently occupying the Coral Pink Sand Dunes geological feature in Kane County, Utah, has one of the smallest geographical ranges of any known insect and its habitat is currently threatened due to off-road vehicle use, drought and climate change.

A draft assessment of the environmental effects of the proposed critical habitat for the tiger beetle is required under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Service is also reopening the comment period for the proposal to allow interested parties an opportunity to comment on the proposed listing and critical habitat designation as well as the two draft documents.

“We want to hear from people in Utah who may have valuable information about the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle,” said Noreen Walsh, Mountain-Prairie Regional Director. “The public hearing in Kanab is an opportunity for those with scientific information to influence the decision we arrive at once we’ve carefully considered the best available science.”

Currently, known populations are restricted to two small areas within the Coral Pink Sand Dunes geological feature on Bureau of Land Management and Utah State Park lands. Service biologists have identified 2,276 acres in Kane County, Utah that contain sand dune habitat essential to the conservation of the species. Of the total acreage identified, 864 acres are located within Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, and 1,508 acres are located on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The Service proposed the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle for listing as threatened on October 2, 2012.  The final decision to add the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, as well as the final identification of areas containing habitat essential to the species, will be based on the best scientific information available. In addition, the Service will utilize the economic analysis to inform and refine its identification of this habitat. Only areas that contain habitat essential to the conservation of the species and where the benefits of this habitat outweigh potential economic impacts; will be included in the final identification.

The Service will open a 30-day public comment period on Monday, May 6, 2013, to allow the public to review the proposed listing and critical habitat designation as well as the two draft documents.  All relevant information received from the public, government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties will be considered and addressed in the agency’s final listing determination for the species and identification of habitat essential to its conservation. A public hearing in Kanab, Utah, is scheduled for May 22, 2013, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kanab City Library, 374 North Main, Kanab, Utah 84741 in Kanab, Utah.

Comments and information may be submitted to the Federal Register online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (follow the instructions for submitting comments and use Docket No. FWS–R6-ES-2012-0053) or via U.S. mail or hand delivery to Utah Ecological Services Field Office at 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley, Utah 84119 (telephone 801-975-3330; facsimile 801-975-3331). Comments must be received or on or before December 26, 2012.

More information is available online at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/endspp/invertebrates.html.

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.  Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq , watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq

-FWS-