U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Endangered Species Act Protection for Two Butterflies
For Immediate Release
October 23, 2013
Two butterflies, the Dakota skipper and the Poweshiek skipperling, have been proposed for protection under the Endangered Species Act due to steep population declines, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Service has proposed the Dakota skipper as a threatened species. Found in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Canada, the Dakota skipper has experienced a dramatic decline in numbers and no longer occurs on half the sites where previously found.
The Poweshiek skipperling is proposed as endangered. This butterfly, once found in eight states and Canada, now occurs only in a few native prairie remnants in Wisconsin and Michigan, and in Manitoba, Canada. Surveys indicate that Poweshiek skipperlings are gone from nearly 90 percent of the sites where they were previously found.
Both butterfly species use prairie habitat and are threatened by degradation or changes to their habitat.
Under the Endangered Species Act, endangered species are plants and animals that are in danger of becoming extinct. Threatened species are those that may become endangered in the foreseeable future. The Endangered Species Act protects listed species from take - which includes harming, harassing, injuring or killing – and conserves habitat designated as critical for the species’ survival and recovery.
Critical habitat is defined by the Endangered Species Act as areas that contain habitat features that are essential for the conservation and recovery of a listed species, which may require special management considerations or protections. Except under certain circumstances, the Act requires proposed designation of critical habitat at the time that a species is proposed to be listed. Protection of critical habitat is limited to the requirement that federal agencies consult with the Service on any actions that may affect critical habitat. The Service can then recommend ways to minimize any adverse effects. A critical habitat designation imposes no requirements on state or private actions on state or private lands where no federal funding, permits or approvals are required.