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ESAblawg is an educational effort by Keith W. Rizzardi. Correspondence with this site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Photos or links may be copyrighted (but used with permission, or as fair use). ESA blawg is published with a Creative Commons License.

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florida gators... never threatened!

If you ain't a Gator, you should be! Alligators (and endangered crocs) are important indicator species atop their food chains, with sensitivity to pollution and pesticides akin to humans. See ESA blawg. Gator blood could be our pharmaceutical future, too. See ESA musing.

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"This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820.

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Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN S. PETTITT helped found this blawg. A D.C.-based IT consultant specializing in Lotus Notes & Domino, he also maintains Lotus Guru blog.

« FWS says listing of Wyoming pocket gopher not warranted | Main| FWS responds to petitions, may list Mohave Ground Squirrel and Harlequin Butterfly; also issues errata on Mountain whitefish »

Final FWS decisions: Critical Habitat for Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly, Listing Not Warranted for Susan’s Purse-making Caddisfly

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75 Fed. Reg. 21394 / Vol. 75, No. 78 / Friday, April 23, 2010 / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2009–0017 / MO 92210–0–0009–B4 / RIN 1018–AW47
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Revised Critical Habitat for Hine’s Emerald Dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana)

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are designating critical habitat for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In total, approximately 26,531.8 acres (ac) (10,737 hectares (ha)) in 37 units fall within the boundaries of our critical habitat designation. The critical habitat units are located in Cook, DuPage, and Will Counties in Illinois; Alpena, Mackinac, and Presque Isle Counties in Michigan; Crawford, Dent, Iron, Phelps, Reynolds, Ripley, Washington, and Wayne Counties in Missouri; and Door and Ozaukee Counties in Wisconsin.

HinesEmeraldDragonfly.jpg
Dragonflies are nature’s water monitors. If they are not thriving it’s a sign that something is wrong with local wa ter quality or quantity.  The Hine's emerald dragonfly was originally discovered in Ohio, but by the mid-1900's it was believed to be extinct.  Subsequent surveys uncovered additional populations there, as well as northeast Wisconsin, Michigan, and one region in Missouri. All are associated with areas of groundwater-fed wetlands that are perched over limestone bedrock.  Larvae spend 2-4 years in small streamlets in marshes or wet meadows.  The species was listed as Endangered in 1995.  The populations are generally small, isolated, and vulnerable to habitat loss or modifications as well as individual mortality.  Caption info from FWS Chicago Field Office, Photo from Missouri Fish and Wildlife Information System.

EXCERPT: The primary constituent elements of critical habitat for the Hine’s emerald dragonfly are: (i) For egg deposition and larval growth and development: (A) Organic soils (histosols, or with organic surface horizon) overlying calcareous substrate (predominantly dolomite and limestone bedrock); (B) Calcareous water from intermittent seeps and springs and associated shallow, small, slow-flowing streamlet channels, rivulets, and/or sheet flow within fens; (C) Emergent herbaceous and woody vegetation for emergence facilitation and refugia; (D) Occupied burrows maintained by crayfish for refugia; and (E) Prey base of aquatic macroinvertebrates, including mayflies, aquatic isopods, caddisflies, midge larvae, and aquatic worms. (ii) For adult foraging, reproduction, dispersal, and refugia necessary for roosting, for resting, for adult females to escape from male harassment, and for predator avoidance (especially during the vulnerable teneral stage): (A) Natural plant communities near the breeding/larval habitat which may include fen, marsh, sedge meadow, dolomite prairie, and the fringe (up to 328 ft (100 m)) of  bordering shrubby and forested areas with open corridors for movement and dispersal; and (B) Prey base of small, flying insect species (e.g., dipterans).

KEITHINKING: NRDC's blog published an interesting commentary by Andrew Wetzler on the exclusion of some areas from the critical habitat designation in Forest Service lands. FWS eventually added those lands back in.   But commenters on this rule were upset with the exclusion of private lands in Missouri from the final designation.  Reality, however, is messy, not ideal.  The tensions between critical habitat designations, and private property rights are very high, and can prove to be counterproductive for the long term efforts to conserve a species.  Consider the FWS explanation: "We have multiple examples where researchers have been denied access to private land to survey potentially new Hine’s emerald dragonfly sites. In other cases, landowners who have documented Hine’s emerald dragonflies on their property have been reluctant or apprehensive about taking advantage of multiple landowner incentive programs available to them due to false perceptions of critical habitat. Service representatives, Hine’s emerald dragonfly researchers, and personnel of the MDC’s Private Land Services Division expended considerable effort in providing private landowners with information on the Hine’s emerald dragonfly and outlining various landowner incentive programs. Despite the combined outreach efforts of multiple individuals, there is documented opposition by private landowners within the dragonfly’s range in Missouri that is difficult to overcome. The designation of critical habitat on private property in Missouri would only exacerbate negative attitudes towards federally listed species."

***

75 Fed. Reg. 22012 / Vol. 75, No. 80 / Tuesday, April 27, 2010 / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2009-0025 / MO 92210-0-0008
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List Susan’s Purse-making Caddisfly (Ochrotrichia susanae) as Threatened or Endangered

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12–month finding on a petition to list Susan’s purse-making caddisfly (Ochrotrichia susanae) as endangered and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. After review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing Susan’s pursemaking caddisfly is not warranted at this time. However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the threats to the Susan’s purse-making caddisfly or its habitat at any time.

EXCERPT: Although we have identified potential impacts to the caddisfly from livestock grazing, hazardous fuel reduction activities, logging roads, prescribed fire, current and proposed water development, road sedimentation and contamination, and recreation, the available information does not support a conclusion that these actions are currently impacting the caddisfly. Current management practices and restrictions appear to adequately control these potential impacts so that they do not pose a substantial threat to the caddisfly. Additionally, there is currently no reliable way to predict if sediment and upstream water development will affect the caddisfly in the future.
     Climate change could pose a problem to Susan’s purse-making caddisfly if  water levels, water temperature, or other habitat variables that affect the caddisfly change as a result of global warming. However, there is currently no model or supporting information that can reliably or credibly predict climate change effects at a local enough scale to ascertain whether climate change is, or will become, a threat to Susan’s pursemaking caddisfly. Furthermore, despite an extremely dry year in 2006, the caddisfly was able to persist in or recolonize the Jaramillo Creek area, indicating  that the species can survive with at least occasional dry years and perhaps with decreased precipitation over a longer period. Additionally, the high elevation of the Colorado sites are expected to shield the caddisfly from potentially negative consequences of warmer and drier conditions within the foreseeable future. The available data do not support the conclusion that potential threats are currently impacting Susan’s purse-making caddisfly habitat or that they will impact the caddisfly habitat in the foreseeable future.
     Therefore, we conclude that the best scientific and commercial information available indicates that Susan’s pursemaking caddisfly is not threatened by the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range.