14 April 2010

Tiger Beetles Receives Endangered Species Funds

[Salt Creek Tiger Beetle]

Funds for two efforts to conserve the endangered Salt Creek Tiger Beetle were announced April 12 by the Department of Interior.

The two projects would include development of a habitat conservation plan, and purchase of an additional tract of saline wetlands.

"Habitat Conservation Plan for the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle and Eastern Saline Wetlands Complex (Lancaster County, NE) $180,000. This grant award will support completion of a landscape-scale, umbrella habitat conservation plan essential to ensuring conservation of the highly imperiled Salt Creek tiger beetle and the saline wetlands habitat in rapidly expanding Lancaster County. This approach will provide a more integrated conservation strategy and better benefits to the species than multiple smaller HCPs. The alternative of developing smaller HCPs for individual residential and commercial development projects would likely result in habitat fragmentation and isolation of populations. This larger umbrella HCP would also provide the County and the City of Lincoln a streamlined process for economic development. This effort, already underway, involves multiple partners, including city, county, State, and Federal agencies, home builders association, and conservation organizations."

Apparently, this plan will be prepared by Natural Heritage staff of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

"Land Acquisition for Habitat Protection for the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle - (Lancaster County, NE) $275,000. Acquisition of this parcel within the Eastern Saline Wetlands complex will protect important habitat for the Salt Creek tiger beetle from the threat of development associated with the rapid expansion of both population and area of the city of Lincoln. The Salt Creek tiger beetle is highly imperiled, and the Service has identified protection of this property to allow natural recolonization from an adjacent population, or reintroduction if necessary, as one of the highest priorities for this species.

Funds from this grant are partial funding.

Negotiations with the landowner are currently ongoing, according to the wetland program manager of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

"Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced nearly $66 million in grants to enable 25 states to work with private landowners, conservation organizations and other partners to protect and conserve the habitat of threatened and endangered species," according to a press release.

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