FWS denies listing for Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly.
74 Fed. Reg. 45396 / Vol. 74, No. 169 / Wednesday, September 2, 2009
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service / 50 CFR Part 17
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Sacramento Mountains Checkerspot Butterfly as Endangered with Critical Habitat
ACTION: Notice of 12–month petition finding.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce our 12–month finding on a petition to list the Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas anicia cloudcrofti) as an endangered species and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After a thorough review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the subspecies is not warranted at this time. We ask the public to continue to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of or threats to the subspecies. This information will help us to monitor and encourage the conservation of the subspecies.
EXCERPT: In our review of the status of the butterfly, we carefully examined the best scientific and commercial information available. We identified a number of potential threats to this subspecies, including: Residential and commercial property development; OHV and other recreational impacts; habitat altering projects in relation to roads, powerlines, and other small-scale impacts; cattle and feral horse grazing; wildfire; noxious weeds; butterfly collection; lack of regulatory mechanisms; insect control; climate change; and extreme weather events. ... Climate change is also likely to continue for the foreseeable future, but there is substantial uncertainty as to how climate change, described in Factor E, will affect the butterfly or its habitat. The uncertainty associated with the information we reviewed does not permit us to make an accurate prediction whether climate change will affect the future viability of the subspecies... We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information regarding the biology of this species and its threats. We conclude that the butterfly is not likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. We further conclude that the butterfly is not in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. In our judgment, the butterfly will continue to persist into the foreseeable future.
KEITHINKING: In response to the petition's emphasis about the future plight of the butterfly, the announcement includes an interesting analysis of the concept of the "forseeable future," based upon a January 16, 2009, memorandum from the Office of the Solicitor. The memo adopts a three part analysis of "foreseeable future" that considers: "(1) The biological and demographic characteristics of the species (such as generation times, persistence of current populations); (2) our ability to predict or extrapolate the effects of threats facing the butterfly into the future; and (3) the relative permanency or irreversibility of these threats." In this era of climate change, this analysis is likely to prove especially important in disputes over species listing decisions.