Julie Slacum, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 410-573-4595
Karis King, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, 410-260-8001
Sarah Pearce, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, 410-827-9756 ext. 165
Lynn Williams, Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, 302-654-0986
More than 170 acres on Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay’s Camp Grove Point in Earleville, Maryland, have been protected with a perpetual conservation easement that puts the recovery of the federally threatened Puritan tiger beetle (Cicindela puritana) within reach. The property’s 2,200 feet of eroding cliffs at the mouth of the Sassafras River provide the unique habitat needed by the beetle, a creature smaller than the tip of a fingernail yet a fierce predator in the insect world.
“We are taking a significant step forward in recovering the Puritan tiger beetle, whose largest global population is found in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland,” said Genevieve LaRouche, Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office. “This partnership illustrates the important role of local groups and landowners in the conservation of our rare native wildlife.”
For many years, the Girl Scouts have acted as caretakers for the beetle population at Camp Grove Point and have received hands-on education regarding the Puritan tiger beetle and other Chesapeake Bay wildlife. Every year, hundreds of Girl Scouts attend day and residential summer camps and participate in troop camping throughout the year.
“Good stewardship of our land is an important part of Girl Scouting,” said Anne T. Hogan, CEO of Girl Scouts of Chesapeake Bay.
“Rich with diverse wetlands and upland forests of oak, tulip poplar, beech and hickory, the new easement will permanently protect the area’s sensitive ecosystem,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Joe Gill. “By preserving this critical landscape we can help guarantee the future of the Puritan tiger beetle, as well as an array of wildlife including osprey, eagle, deer, fox and many migratory songbirds.”
Permanent protection of this land will help meet one of the federal criteria required for recovery of this species—to stabilize six large sub-populations and their habitats in the Chesapeake Bay. With the protections on the Girl Scout property, four sub-populations will be protected in Maryland.
“Preservation of this property not only means protection of a unique ecological site,” said Jared Parks, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist. “It preserves a place where generations of girls can go to explore the outdoors and learn about nature with a great organization devoted to building character and strength.”
Development and stabilization projects are the most serious threats to this species in Maryland. Puritan tiger beetles undergo their entire life cycle on or near cliffs and adjacent sandy beaches, and require some cliff erosion to maintain suitable unvegetated habitat conditions. Shoreline stabilization structures minimize erosion at the base of the bluff, which over time makes the slopes less steep and allows vegetation to grow. This makes the habitat unsuitable for the beetles.
Conservation of this important habitat was made possible through the partnership of Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Program Open Space and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office. Funding was provided through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Grant Program and Maryland’s Program Open Space funds. The recovery grant program, authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, provides funds for states and territories to protect land through voluntary landowner agreements that benefit listed species with recovery plans.
Landowners and managers play a vital role in conserving our nation’s imperiled wildlife. Most threatened and endangered species depend at least in part on private and other non federal lands. The Endangered Species Act is not only a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants, but it also provides tools for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species.
Puritan tiger beetle resources:
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