Local HCPs may help California's June beetles and spineflowers
73 Fed. Reg. 57644 / 73 FR 57644-57646 / Vol. 73, No. 193 / Friday, October 3, 2008 (DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; WS–R1–ES–2008–N0222; 81440–1112–0000 ABC Code F2Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permits in Santa Cruz County, CA; Notice of receipt of applications for permit.)
Mount Hermon June Beetles (Polyphylla barbata) are found exclusively in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Larvae spend up to three years underground feeding on plant roots. The short-lived adults are nocturnal, observed at night between 8:45 and 9:30pm in summer months, when they are mainly concerned with finding a mate. Photo from earthsendangered.com
SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of five Incidental Take Permit applications and Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The applicants collectively anticipate removing a total of approximately 2.04 acres of Mount Hermon June beetle (Polyphylla barbata) occupied habitat, and one HCP also includes the federally endangered Ben Lomond spineflower (Chorizanthe pungens var. hartwegiana) as a covered species. We are requesting comments on the permit applications and on our preliminary determination that the proposed HCPs qualify as ‘‘low effect’’ HCPs, eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended.
KEITHINKING: The June beetles -- not an example of charismatic megafauna -- have been the subject of ongoing regional conservation research, and these permits, allowing limited acreage of impacts, may actually enhance species conservation, with 2.04 acres of impact offset by purchase of 2.33 acres of conservation credits. See Sandhills Alliance for Natural Diversity, the Mayer Family HCP, and Zayante Sandhills Conservation Bank.