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Region 5. (Regional News & Recovery Updates).

American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) The largest American burying beetle reintroduction effort in the 12-year history of the species' recovery program took place recently on Nantucket Island off the Massachusetts coast. The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, raised well over 300 of the endangered beetles for release on Nantucket Island, a historic locality for the species. On June 11 and 12,320 American burying beetles (160 pairs) were given dead quail for food (the beetles require carrion to reproduce) and released at the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Sesachacha Wildlife Sanctuary. With each pair of beetles capable of raising 10-20 larvae, the 2001 release may result in thousands of beetles on the island by late fall.

This effort is probably one of the largest reintroductions ever undertaken for an endangered insect species.

Present to document the work was a film crew from the TV program, Wild Moments, and the Providence Journal newspaper. Partners in the work include the Rhode Island Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Massachusetts Audubon Society, University of Massachusetts' Boston Field Station, University of Rhode Island, Maria Mitchell Natural History Museum, and Nantucket Conservation Foundation.

Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) As a result of a multi-agency partnership, endangered Indiana bats have been documented to migrate to the Lake Champlain Valley in Vermont from a hibernaculure in New York. Biologists tagged five Indiana bats (four females and one male) with radio transmitters as the bats left their hibernaculum (hibernation site) in early May. Three females were located by air and subsequently by land in Vermont within one to six days after release. Multiple roost trees for two of the females were identified; most of the roost trees were shagbark hickories. Evening counts of bats leaving the roosts ranged from 4 to 120 bats (probably more than one species roosted together). All of the Indiana bats were found on private land and all landowners granted permission for field staff to locate the bats.

The success of this study was due to a substantial cooperative effort by state and federal agencies and concerned citizens. Staff and equipment were provided by our New England and New York Field Offices, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (which also provided the airplane and pilot), the Green and White Mountain national forests, and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources loaned additional equipment. High school and college students also volunteered their time.

Karner Blue Butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) In early May, Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) staff from our New York Field Office restored 24 acres (9.7 ha) of habitat at the Albany Pine Bush, an unusual pine barrens ecosystem located in Albany, New York. This property will provide valuable habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly. A PFW Biological Science Technician operated a Hydro-Ax to remove unwanted vegetation on approximately 20 acres (8 ha). Additionally, 4 acres (1.7 ha) degraded by an invasive stand of black locust (Robina pseudoacacia) were restored to native grasslands. After the locust were removed, the site was prepared and seeded with a mixture of warm season grasses/ forbs. A PFW Biological Science Technician provided technical assistance to Albany Pine Bush staff who seeded the site. Prescribed fire will be used regularly to maintain the 20-acre Hydro-Ax site, as well as the 4-acre seeded site. The two restored sites will provide habitat for the Karner blue butterfly and furnish educational opportunities for the Albany Pine Bush Commission.

Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) Four students from the Ross School in East Hampton, New York, are involved in a plover protection effort on the town's beaches. They will be using two video surveillance cameras to monitor nesting sites plagued by chick mortality. This study is a continuation of a prior school project that demonstrated fencing off nesting sites provided almost total protection from predators and boosted productivity. East Hampton beaches have been the preferred nesting location for about 22 pairs of threatened piping plovers in the last several years, but chick mortality has been around 60 percent.

Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii dougallii) Roseate tern productivity in Long Island may get a boost from the combined efforts of private organizations and state, county, and federal government agencies to restore Warner's Island in Long Island's Shinnecock Bay. Warner's Island historically provided habitat for the endangered roseate tern, which prefers nesting on small islands under or adjacent to objects that provide cover. Erosion has gradually reduced the elevation of the island to the point where it is being overwashed and inundated. This has resulted in a decrease in the number of nesting pairs from 30 pairs several years ago to three pairs last year.

The island has been restored using sand barged to the site and off-loaded with an amphibious excavator purchased by the FWS Long Island Refuge Complex and our New York Field Office's Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. Other cooperators included the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Southampton Town Trustees, National Audubon Society, New York Fish Trade Tackle Association, Long Island Beach Buggy Association, and Suffolk County Department of Parks, Labor, and Public Works. The restoration team, using sandbags and sandfill, raised the profile of the island to protect tern nests from disturbance and inundation. The team was successful in its cooperative efforts and the island is being monitored to assess nesting success. Volunteers are planning to make decoys and place them on the island to attract roseate terns in time for next year's nesting season.

Reported by Mark Clough of the FWS New York Field Office.
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Author:Clough, Mark
Publication:Endangered Species Bulletin
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
Words:937
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