U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Announces Draft Economic Analysis and Draft Environmental Assessment for the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle
For Immediate Release
March 12, 2014
Public comment period reopened until March 28, 2014
DENVER – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today the availability of a Draft Economic Analysis and draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed redesignation of critical habitat for the endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle (Cicindela nevadica lincolniana). We previously published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on June 4, 2013, to redesignate critical habitat for the Salt Creek tiger beetle under the Endangered Species Act in accordance with a June 7, 2011, settlement agreement between the Service and the Center for Biological Diversity, Xerces Society, and Center for Native Ecosystems.
The Salt Creek tiger beetle only occurs in stream and saline wetland habitats in eastern Nebraska. Loss of suitable habitat for this insect has occurred due to development in and around the City of Lincoln, construction of infrastructure including roadways, alteration to hydrologic cycles and sediment deposition. Despite these impacts, tremendous efforts including land acquisition, experimental rearing and reintroduction, and population and habitat monitoring have been done to help recover the Salt Creek tiger beetle and restore its habitat.
We have prepared a draft economic analysis to determine the economic impacts, including costs and benefits, of the proposed rule to redesignate critical habitat. The draft economic analysis concluded that critical habitat designation for the beetle is unlikely to generate costs exceeding $100 million per year. This estimate was based on the anticipated costs of consultations under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, and other costs. We have also prepared a draft assessment of the environmental effects of the proposed critical habitat for the tiger beetle under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Service is reopening the comment period for the proposal to allow interested parties an opportunity to comment on the two draft documents, as well as the June 4, 2013 proposed rule to revise the critical habitat designation.
Identification of areas containing habitat essential to the Salt Creek tiger beetle, will be based on the best scientific information available. In addition, the Service will utilize the economic analysis to inform and refine its identification of this habitat. Only areas that contain habitat essential to the conservation of the species and where the benefits of this habitat outweigh potential economic impacts will be included in the final designation.