Fish and Wildlife Service to meet with public in Minot on butterfly protection

By November 1, 2013 February 15th, 2016 No Comments

Nov. 01–The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a public meeting in Minot about the recent proposal to extend Endangered Species Act protection to two butterflies found in North Dakota.

The meeting will be 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Souris Valley Suites, 800 37th Ave. S.W.

The Service has proposed the Dakota skipper as a threatened species, with critical habitat. Found in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Canada, the species has experienced a dramatic decline in numbers and no longer occurs on half the sites where previously found.

The Poweshiek skipperling is proposed as endangered, with critical habitat. This butterfly, once found in North Dakota and seven other states, as well as Canada, now occurs only in a few native prairie remnants in Wisconsin and Michigan, and in Manitoba.

Surveys indicate that Poweshiek skipperlings are gone from nearly 90 percent of the sites where they were previously found.

Both butterfly species use prairie habitat and are threatened by degradation or changes to their habitat.

The Service is proposing to designate 54 tracts, ranging in size from 31 acres to 2,887 acres, in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota as critical habitat for the Dakota skipper. For the Poweshiek skipperling, the Service is proposing to designate 63 tracts, ranging in size from 23 acres to 2,887 acres as in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin as critical habitat.

The Service is also proposing a special rule for the Dakota skipper that would provide flexibility for landowners and land managers who have Dakota skippers on their property. For example, the special rule would allow incidental take of Dakota skippers as the result of routine ranching activities such as construction of fences, corrals and watering facilities; haying and mowing; and in some areas, grazing.

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