Two Kentucky Cave Beetles Not Listed Due to Conservation Efforts
Conservation efforts at Adams Cave in Madison County, Kentucky have enabled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove two Kentucky cave beetles from the list of candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
The greater Adams Cave beetle and lesser Adams Cave beetle are only known to live in Adams Cave in the Bluegrass Region of central Kentucky, near Richmond. First discovered in the cave in 1964, the two predatory beetles are small (3 to 5 millimeters), eyeless, reddish-brown insects that feed upon cave invertebrates such as spiders, mites, and millipedes.
Over the years, people have trespassed inside Adams Cave to camp (which is not permitted by the landowner) and conduct other illegal activities (fires, parties) that vandalized and degraded the habitats within, and surrounding the cave. Consequently, the two cave beetle species had not been found for a number of years. To compound the challenge of keeping this species alive, the cave is now in the middle of a rapidly-developing subdivision southwest of Richmond, Kentucky.
In early March 2005, the Southern Conservation Corporation -- a non-profit land trust --and the Service, signed a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances to ensure long-term protection for Adams Cave and the two cave beetle species. The announcement was published in the Federal Register today and can be found at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/
The agreement covers a one-acre parcel in the Adams Place subdivision in Madison County, Kentucky, that includes the only known entrance to Adams Cave. The Service has determined that these conservation efforts will reduce or eliminate the threats to the survival of the two beetle species, precluding the need for listing them under the Endangered Species Act. The agreement helped protect the cave -- and the beetles -- by blocking the entrance to unauthorized uses, and creating a buffer around it that will also help prevent damage to this unique resource. This area will also be restored to its woodland savannah, prairie type habitat that is best for the beetles. The Kentucky Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provided $8,000 for construction of the new metal gate and native plant restoration surrounding the cave entrance. Additional funding of about $70,000 was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prepare and implement the CCAA.
“Working as a team truly does work,” said Brent Harrel,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service private lands, Partners for Fish and Wildlife
state coordinator for Kentucky. “To mention just a few, Robert
Taylor the landowner who donated the cave was very generous to work with
us on it. Ellis Laudermilk, biologist with the Kentucky State Nature
Preserves Commission, kept everyone geared up about the importance of
it and really helped me in finding the beetles and gating the cave.”
More photos are located -- http://www.fws.gov/southeast/news/2005/CaveBeetle
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