U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Revises Critical Habitat for the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle
For Immediate Release
May 5, 2014
DENVER - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today a final revision of critical habitat for the rare Salt Creek tiger beetle (Cicindela nevadica lincolniana), which was 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 critical habitat on 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, on June 3, 2013, the Service proposed to revise critical habitat to include saline wetlands along Little Salt Creek, Rock Creek, Oak Creek, and Haines Branch Creek, all of which are functioning saline wetlands or have the potential to be restored to that capacity. The Service sought public comment on that proposal, and conducted an economic screening analysis on its potential impacts and is in the process of finalizing proposed designation.
This designation of 1,110 acres is smaller than the previous designation, but contains sufficient suitable habitat to support recovery of the species. It 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 six populations of Salt Creek tiger beetle 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.
A copy of the final rule and more information about the Salt Creek tiger beetle can be found at http://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).
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