U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to Revise Critical Habitat for the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle
For Immediate Release
June 4, 2013
DENVER - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is seeking public input on a proposed revision of critical habitat for the rare Salt Creek tiger beetle (Cicindela nevadica lincolniana), listed as endangered in 2005 under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). While only a few hundred beetles remain in three small populations in Nebraska on less than 35 acres, this revision will guide conservation efforts for the species, which includes proposed critical habitat for 1,110 acres of saline wetlands.
The beetle is unique to Nebraska’s eastern saline wetlands, the most limited and endangered wetland type in the State. Habitat loss associated with urbanization, road construction, stream channelization, and agricultural development has greatly reduced species’ numbers and distribution, making it vulnerable to extinction.
In 2010, the Service designated 1,933 acres of critical habitat for the beetle along Little Salt Creek and Rock Creek in Lancaster County. As a result of a 2011 settlement agreement, we propose to revise critical habitat to include saline wetlands along Little Salt Creek, Rock Creek, Oak Creek, and Haines Branch Creek that are functioning saline wetlands or have the potential to be restored to that capacity.
This designation of 1,110 acres is smaller than the previous designation, but contains sufficient suitable habitat to support recovery of the species, and includes two additional stream corridors that were not previously included which could support Salt Creek tiger beetle populations in the future. The goal of this designation is to support at least 6 populations of Salt Creek tiger in the future. This designation will accommodate growth of existing populations and reintroduction of additional tiger beetle populations, as well as protect dispersal corridors and support sufficient prey insects to ensure adequate food for the species.
The Service has opened a 60-day comment period to allow the public and stakeholders an opportunity to comment on this proposal until August 5, 2013. During that time, the Service will also seek peer review from qualified members of the scientific community to ensure that our final decision is based on solid science. A copy of the proposed rule and more information on how to submit comments can be found athttp://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/invertebrates/saltcreektiger/index.htm or by contacting the Nebraska Ecological Services Field Office 203 West 2nd Street, Grand Island, Nebraska 68801 (telephone 308–382–6468).