American Burying Beetle: Additional Information
Key to the American Burying Beetle 4(d) Rule for Federal and Non-Federal Activities
On October 15, 2020 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published the final rule reclassifying the American burying beetle from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (85 FR 65241). The publication also included a final rule under the authority of section 4(d) of the Act that provides measures that are necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of the American burying beetle. The 4(d) rule identifies certain activities that are excepted from take prohibitions, which differs by geographic area. The rule became effective on November 16, 2020, 30 days after publication.
The Service has developed a key that will help project proponents (federal and non-federal) to determine if your proposed project is excepted from prohibited take of American burying beetle, as defined in the 4(d) rule. Activities excepted from incidental take prohibitions are also assessed in the Service’s October 15, 2020 Programmatic Biological Opinion on the final 4(d) rule for the American burying beetle.
The interim determination key has been replaced by an online, automated key that is available through the Service’s Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) system. The system and additional information on threatened and endangered species is available on the Service’s Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS) site.
Please follow instructions in IPaC. If your project is within the current range of the American burying beetle, then the option to use the determination key will be provided as part of the process of assessing your project’s potential impacts on federally-listed species and other trust resources. The IPaC system will allow you to enter your project information and view the location in relation to the species range. The determination key provides a step-by-step process for determining the appropriate incidental take exceptions through the American burying beetle 4(d) rule.
- Non-Federal projects - If your proposed action does not require Federal funding or authorization, the key will assist you in determining if your proposed activities are consistent with the 4(d) rule and Opinion. If so, a consistency letter will be provided once you complete the key. If your proposed action is not excepted from take prohibitions, additional guidance will be provided in the key.
The determination key for the American burying beetle does not apply to any other federally-protected species that also may occur in your Action area. The Service’s IPaC system will assist you in determining if other federally-protected species may occur in your Action area and, if so we recommend further coordination with the Service to determine if the Action may impact those species or their habitats.
- Federal nexus projects - For actions funded, authorized, or carried out by federal agencies, the key will assist you in determining if your proposed activities are consistent with the 4(d) rule and Opinion. If so, your action may rely upon the Opinion for compliance with ESA section 7 with respect to the American burying beetle and you will receive a consistency letter from the Service. If your activity is not excepted from take prohibitions, additional guidance will be provided in the key. Activities outside the scope of the Opinion, or that may affect other federally listed species besides the American burying beetle, a proposed species, and/or designated critical habitat, may require additional section 7 consultation.
Guidance for Federal agencies with actions that may affect American burying beetles in the Southern Plains populations and compliance with the final rule downlisting the species to threatened with a 4(d) rule.
Federal agencies that already have an existing biological opinion that addresses their actions, but prefer to use the 4(d) PBO instead, must request, in writing, a suspension of the existing biological opinion and clearly state their intention to use the 4(d) PBO for all ongoing and future actions that may affect ABBs. This includes existing programmatic biological opinions. If for any reason the federal agency makes the decision to revert back to their original existing biological opinion after electing to use the 4(d) PBO, another written request to return to the original biological opinion would be required.
The 4(d) rule and PBO do not apply to other federally-protected species that also may occur in the . If the action may affect other federally listed species besides the American burying beetle, any proposed species, and/or designated/proposed critical habitat, additional consultation between the agency and the Service is required. If the proposed action may disturb bald or golden eagles, additional coordination with the Service under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act is recommended.
Below are links to several documents that may help with your determinations:
Intra Service Section 7 Biological Opinion
American Burying Beetle Rangewide Survey Guidance
American Burying Beetle D Key Definitions
Best Management Practices for the American burying beetle