Federal Agency Proposes "Threatened" and "Endangered" Listings for Two Area Species
Today, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) agency proposed listing the Streaked Horned Lark as threatened and the Taylor's Checkerspot Butterfly as endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act. These species have ranges that include Thurston County as well as other areas in Washington, Oregon and California. The next step in the process is the USFWS' sixty-day comment period. The agency has one year to publish a final determination on the proposed rule. -30-
"While the proposed listing is not a Thurston County decision," says county Planning Director Scott Clark, "we're prepared to respond in a responsible and balanced way that preserves endangered habitat as well as protects local land use decisions. Assuming these listings were imminent, the Board of County Commissioners entered into an agreement with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop a Habitat Conservation Plan using funds awarded by USFWS."
The plan as being developed, adds Clark, "will seek to protect threatened and endangered species in perpetuity, maintain local control of land use regulations, and provide long term certainty in land use and economic development."
"The issue here is not protecting a single species," says Board of County Commission Chair Cathy Wolfe, "but preserving the habitat on which these species rely. Updates recently made to the Critical Areas Ordinance anticipated one or more prairie species would be listed as threatened or endangered. Consequently, many of the revised guidelines on habitat protection have the county well positioned to respond to today's listings.”
On a related issue, at the request of the Governor's Office, a decision regarding the potential listing of the Mazama pocket gopher has been pushed back to November 30 by the USFWS.The complete text of the federal listing proposal is posted at:
Listing Taylors Checkerspot Butterfly and Streaked Horned Lark
and Designation of Critical HabitatPDF