Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Service to Assess Diamond Spring Wind Project Habitat Conservation Plan for American Burying Beetle in Oklahoma
Members of the public invited to participate in 30-day public comment period

October 21, 2019

Contact(s):

Al Barrus, 505-248-6409, al_barrus@fws.gov


A biologist holds an american burying beetle Credit USFS.

A biologist holds an american burying beetle. Credit: USFS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened a 30-day public comment period on the Diamond Spring Wind Project permit application, Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for planned construction of a wind turbine facility in southern Oklahoma. The HCP establishes 586.74 acres of suitable habitat for the protection of the American burying beetle.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) allows for a permit for the incidental take of endangered and threatened species. The Diamond Spring Wind Project HCP was submitted to the Service for an incidental take permit under the ESA. The HCP and EA are designed to minimize impacts of the project on the federally endangered American burying beetle. HCPs are one of many tools that the ESA provides for businesses, landowners and state and local governments so they may continue their activities while also ensuring the conservation of a listed species.

The Service does not issue a permit for the project, only a permit for incident take as a result of otherwise lawful activities.

Incidental take permits are needed to cover incidental take of the American burying beetle from activities associated with the construction on 930.4 acres in the counties of Johnston and Pontotoc in Oklahoma. The requested permit would be in effect for five years.

The American burying beetle is a large, shiny black beetle with hardened protective wing covers marked by two scalloped-shaped orange patterns. The nocturnal beetle is active only in the summer and lives for only one year. They are scavengers that depend on carrion for their life cycle. The beetle buries a small carcass, lays eggs beside the carcass, and feeds the larvae from that carcass until they mature. 

Members of the public are invited to submit comments through November 21, 2019. Copies of the draft EA and HCP are available online: https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/oklahoma/. For additional information, contact Jonna Polk (Field Supervisor) by telephone at 918-581-7458, or by mail at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office, 9014 E. 21st St., Tulsa, Oklahoma 74129. Public comments may also be submitted via email to OKES_NEPA@fws.gov.

America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species and their habitats is a shared responsibility. We continue working with partners and the public to use improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.  We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. 

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.  Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq  watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq.

http://www.fws.gov/southwest/


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.