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Butterfly conservation plan.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Southwest Region, U.S. Forest Service-Lincoln National Forest, Otero County, and the Village of Cloudcroft have collaborated on a conservation plan for the Sacramento Mountains checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas anicia cloudcrofti), an orange and black butterfly that lives in the high elevation meadows of Otero County, New Mexico.

After the Sacramento Mountains checkerspot was proposed for listing in 2001 as an endangered species, partners developed the conservation plan in 2004 to address the butterfly's habitat needs. The Service announced on December 21, 2004, that the butterfly would not be added to the list because the threats to its existence have lessened.

The four objectives of the plan are to: 1) eliminate the destruction, modification, and/or curtailment of the butterfly's habitat while identifying and implementing measures to control future threats; 2) ensure that the species is not over-utilized for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; 3) ensure adequate protection by way of agreements and regulatory measures; and 4) support research, outreach, and education efforts. Partners will continue to work together and with the public to implement and assess conservation measures for the species.

Final Recovery Plan A plan to recover the Zapata bladderpod (Lesquerella thamnophila) was approved by the Southwest Regional Director in 2004, with concurrence from the Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This plant was listed in 1999 as endangered.

A member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae), the Zapata bladderpod is one of many plant species with ranges that straddle the Mexico/United States border. Historic records indicate that it occurred in Starr and Zapata Counties in Texas, and in the state of Tamaulipas, Mexico. Factors leading to the species' decline include habitat modification and destruction from increased road construction, conversion of native plant communities to improved pastures, and incompatible grazing regimes.

Currently, seven populations are known to exist in south Texas. They occur on Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge property, private property, and highway rights-of-way. Other populations may exist on private land. The Zapata bladderpod has not been verified in Mexico in recent years.

The recovery plan is an important tool for private landowners who may be interested in contributing to Zapata bladderpod recovery, and it will stimulate cooperation between the United States and Mexico. To downlist the species from endangered to threatened, 12 fully protected, self-sustaining populations must be established and maintained on federal, state, or private land. The plan provides information for private landowners who may be interested in surveying for and recovering the species on their land. Delisting criteria will be established as additional information about the species' life history and habitat requirements are gained.

Reported by Tracy Scheffler, Division of Threatened and Endangered Species, Southwest Regional Office. For more information, call her at (505) 248-6920, or send email to Tracy_Scheffler@fws. gov or Wendy_Brown@fws.gov.
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Author:Scheffler, Tracy
Publication:Endangered Species Update
Geographic Code:1U8NM
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:475
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