Monday, April 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Beetle found locally could lose endangered status

By
From page A3 | February 06, 2013 | Leave Comment

FAIRFIELD — A rare beetle found in Solano County and nearby counties that spends much of its life feeding on pith inside elderberry shrubs might get removed from the federal Endangered Species Act list.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed stripping the valley elderberry longhorn beetle of its “threatened” status. The agency is accepting public comments through Feb. 22.

These beetles are red and dark green and are found in the Central Valley, as far west as Green Valley in and near Fairfield. They bore into elderberry shrubs and emerge in the spring to mate.

Because of the beetle’s Endangered Species Act protections, potential conflicts can arise between development and preserving beetle habitat.

An elderberry shrub stands on the Dunnell property in Rolling Hills targeted to become a 6.2-acre city park. Since the beetle retains its Endangered Species Act status for now, the city has had to come up with a strategy for dealing with the shrub.

“We have to avoid that area with the park improvements and let it be,” Community Development Director Erin Beavers said.

In fact, that’s been Fairfield’s strategy in general when it comes to development in potential beetle habitat.

“Most of the time, we’re avoiding it,” Beavers said.

But sometimes, the city has instead dealt with the Endangered Species Act requirements. In 2002, it widened Business Center Drive for its Green Valley Corporate Park project and had to prune an elderberry shrub considered as a beetle home. It had to plant replacement shrubs by the dozens according to a federal formula.

For example, sawing a stem 4 inches in diameter with no bore holes meant planting three elderberry saplings. Sawing a 7-inch-diameter branch with bore holes meant planting eight saplings.

Fairfield also relocated another elderberry shrub that stood in the way of the project.

The Solano County Water Agency for more than a decade has worked on a habitat conservation plan that will cover much of Solano County. The goal is to better protect habitat for rare species while letting developers know what they must do to comply with the Endangered Species Act. The Department of the Interior required a local plan as part of the 1999 contract renewals to continue bringing federal Lake Berryessa reservoir water to local cities and farms.

The valley elderberry longhorn beetle is contained in the proposed habitat conservation plan that could be finalized in 2014. Whether it should remain there or not is a question, given the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to remove the beetle’s Endangered Species Act “threatened” status.

“It’s kind of a fluid situation,” Solano County Water Agency General Manager David Okita said. “For now, we’re leaving it in there.”

Removing a species from Endangered Species Act status can take years and include lawsuits, he said. Meanwhile, his agency doesn’t want to remove the valley elderberry longhorn beetle from the habitat conservation plan, only to find out later the beetle retains its federal protections after all.

Among the places the beetle is found in Solano County are along Green Valley, Ulatis and Putah creeks. It grew rarer as California lost its streamside forests to farming and development. About 90 percent of this riparian habitat has been lost in the Central Valley since the mid-1800s, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

When the beetle was listed as “threatened” in 1980, it could be found at three known locations. Today, it is found at 26 known locations, of which 15 have some degree of open space or other protections, an agency report said.

Go to www.regulations.gov docket number FWS-R8-ES-2011-0063 to comment on the Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to remove the beetle from the “threatened” list.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Fairfield police: Man shot while driving on I-80

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A1

 
Jelly Belly artist finds her work sweet

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Rodriguez musicians win big in Reno

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

 
Best of the best compete at dog show

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Fairfield police log: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Street-sweeping dealership comes to Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Networking event at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

North Bay Pediatrics marks anniversary

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

 
Firm facilitates building lease in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

Weather for Monday, April 21, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

.

Opinion

Legislature critic is selective

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

.

Entertainment

.

Sports

Young Clippers try to mature against Warriors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sharks take 2-0 series lead with 7-2 win vs. Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

NBA: Refs missed foul call in Warriors-Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Chavez gets 1st win, A’s complete sweep of Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Posey, Lincecum lead Giants to 4-3 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Prep baseball: Pair of 10-run innings powers Vikings to win

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Prizefighter Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Red Sox remember Boston Marathon victims

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
After bombs, Boston Marathon under tight security

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Westwood wins Malaysian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimenez closes with 67 to win Greater Gwinnett

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kuchar rallies from 4 back to win RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Duncan scores 27 points, Spurs beat Mavs 90-85

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

James, Wade lead Heat past Bobcats 99-88 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Nene dominates, Wizards rally past Bulls, 102-93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Aldridge leads Portland over Houston 122-120 in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Business

 
.

Obituaries

Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
.

Comics