Now's the time to work out plan for Sand Mt. butterfly


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Now's the time to work out plan for Sand Mt. butterfly

Post by Crowdog » Fri Apr 30, 2004 7:01 am ... /104300004

Now's the time to work out plan for Sand Mt. butterfly

LVN Staff Writer
April 30, 2004

The petition filed last week by a coalition of environmental organizations to put a butterfly found at Sand Mountain on the Endangered Species List has ratcheted the discussion of off-road use at the popular recreation area up a notch.

The position staked out by the Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups behind the effort is hopefully not one of non-negotiation. :lol: But clearly a line has been drawn in the sand.

Environmentalists claim the voluntary measures the BLM has outlined to date to protect the blue butterfly, namely cautionary signs warning of fragile habitat, are ineffective and ignored. Off-roaders believe education rather than regulation on vehicle use at Sand Mountain is the way to proceed.

We believe a compromise must be found that works for both the conservationists and the off-roaders.

The BLM should seek to address the issue in the same way the state of Nevada has approached the sage grouse scarcity. Knowing the dire consequences if the sage grouse is listed as endangered, the state has sought to comprehensively assess habitat and try to formulate a plan to stabilize the bird's numbers short of a federal ESA listing.

The goal, of course, is to pre-empt the need for drastic action on the part of the federal government. The Endangered Species Act, as most people know, triggers a host of measures once a species is listed. Getting a species off the list - ask any Fallon farmer about endangered cui-ui suckers in Pyramid Lake - is an arduous effort with plenty of restrictions but no defined timeline.

The Sand Mountain Blue Butterfly and its host plant, the Kearny Buckwheat, are important. Nobody wants to stand idly by if a species is truly pushed to extinction. We haven't been privy to any studies that assert that's the case with the Blue Butterfly.

With 40,000 visitors a year, most of them from California, the economic benefit to Fallon from Sand Mountain is immense. Fallon is the last chance to buy fuel, food and lodging on U.S. Highway 50 for the motorsports enthusiasts who come through in significant numbers every weekend.

Sand Mountain has always been and should always be a multiple-use recreation area.

A workable solution will require serious efforts to find the middle ground. If the butterfly's habitat is degraded, as one BLM official said in recommending 1,000 acres be closed, that's a problem that will have to be addressed.

Off-roaders need to realize that just because it's public land that doesn't mean it's their right to ride roughshod over every inch of the terrain.

Conservationists, likewise, must understand there are ways to assure the long-term survival of the butterfly without pushing the BLM to issue a full force and effect closure of the dune.

Anyone care to help straighten out the LVN staff?! :idea:

Letters to the Editor can be sent to: ... /index.pbs

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