Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for October 24, 2013
Coral Pink Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle not placed on endangered species list
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is withdrawing a proposal to list the Coral Pink Sand Dunes (CPSD) tiger beetle under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The decision was reached after the Service worked with county, state and federal partners to expand an existing conservation agreement that will better protect the rare invertebrate’s habitat in Kanab.
The conservation agreement – signed by the Service; Bureau of Land Management; Utah Department of Natural Resources; and Kane County, Utah – expanded on the success of existing conservation measures to comprehensively address all threats to the species, to the point that the beetle no longer meets the definition of a threatened or endangered species under the ESA.
“The signing of this conservation agreement and the subsequent decision that the species no longer warrants listing under the ESA demonstrates the power of working together to address the needs of imperiled species,” said Noreen Walsh, the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Regional Director. “I want to thank our partners in the agreement for their efforts in putting safeguards in place to meet the needs of this unique species – now and in the future.”
“We are committed to managing public lands to conserve the tiger beetle, while supporting the recreation and outdoor activities that boost local economies in southern Utah,” said Juan Palma, BLM-Utah State Director. “We look forward to continuing the collaboration that has made this partnership and conservation effort such a success.”
“The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation is extremely happy about this decision. We believe this is in the best interest of the CPSD tiger beetle and the recreating public who enjoys Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park,” said Fred Hayes, Utah State Parks Director. “We look forward to working with state and federal agency partners as we move forward.”
The enhanced conservation agreement enlarges one of the two conservation areas by 29 percent from 207 acres to 266 acres. This expansion protects 88 percent of the species’ occupied habitat in this area from off-road vehicle use. In addition, the amendment provides protection for islands of habitat between the two conservations areas with the intent of providing dispersal habitat for the species (an additional 263 acres).
The species, found only in the Kane County CPSD geological feature, has one of the smallest known geographical ranges of any insect. The Service proposed the species for listing as threatened under the ESA on October 2, 2012, due to threats from off-road vehicles, drought and climate change. Currently, known populations are restricted to two small areas within the CPSD geological feature on Bureau of Land Management and Utah State Park lands.
More information is available online at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/endspp/invertebrates.html or by contacting the Utah Ecological Services Field Office at 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley, Utah 84119 (telephone 801-975-3330; facsimile 801-975-3331)