Kentucky Cave Beetle Not Listed Due to Conservation Efforts
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it will remove the Beaver Cave beetle from the list of candidates for Endangered Species Act protection due to conservation efforts with partners in Harrison County, Kentucky.
The Service’s Kentucky Ecological Services Field Office (KFO) has worked for the last three years with partners including the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, Kentucky Division of Forestry and a private landowner, to fund and implement conservation actions that will ensure long-term protection of this rare beetle.
The Beaver Cave beetle – a small, eyeless, predatory insect – is known only to live in Beaver Cave, a limestone cave whose entrance is located on a private dairy farm in central Kentucky. The beetle is threatened by habitat degradation and by trespassers who camp, light fires and vandalize the cave. Additionally, Beaver Cave and its watershed are situated within a 60-acre dairy farm that has the potential to introduce animal waste, sediment and other pollutants into the cave.
The KFO’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program coordinated several conservation efforts that were planned and implemented through five inter-related agreements and contracts between the landowner and partner agencies. Collectively, these agreements and contracts encompass three general conservation efforts: First, to reduce sediment and animal waste within the cave’s watershed and establish a forested buffer around the cave; second, to construct a metal gate at the Beaver Cave’s entrance; and third, to limit access to Beaver Cave and the landowner’s surrounding property.
The KFO’s Partners program provided $12,500 for construction of a concrete stream crossing and fence installation associated with a livestock staging area near the primary dairy buildings. Additional funding of about $37,000 was provided by the partner agencies to construct a metal gate at the cave entrance, to establish a forested buffer around the cave entrance, to install additional livestock exclusion fencing around the cave and surface tributaries on the property, to install a heavy use feeding area, and to develop a rotational grazing program for the dairy operation.
The agreements and contracts cover approximately 8-acres of the dairy farm that contains the entrance to Beaver Cave and the most sensitive portions of its basin threatened by the farm operations. The Service has determined that the conservation efforts will reduce or eliminate the threats to the survival of the beetle, precluding the need for listing it under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/news. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/. Atlanta, GA 30345, Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286