Group formed to seek compromise over rare Nevada butterfly


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Group formed to seek compromise over rare Nevada butterfly

Post by Crowdog »

Group formed to seek compromise over rare Nevada butterfly

8/17/2004 10:24 pm

FALLON — A new working group has been formed in Churchill County to try to find ways to help the Sand Mountain blue butterfly and avoid a potential listing under the Endangered Species Act.

The working group was formed by the Lahontan Valley Environmental Alliance, an organization that tries to resolve differences between competing interests in natural resource issues.

The goal, said executive director Jeanette Dahl, is to mitigate problems that threaten the insect at the popular recreation site along U.S. 50, 25 miles east of Fallon.

Officials from the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are scheduled to speak to the working group at its inaugural meeting today.

Conservation groups petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service in April to list the butterfly as threatened or endangered because of threats to its habitat that they blame on motorcycles, dune buggies and all-terrain vehicles.

Off-road vehicle groups don’t think the butterfly or its habitat are endangered.

The 2.5-mile long dune was formed from the sands of ancient Lake Lahontan, which once covered most of the Great Basin. The Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority estimates 35,000 people annually visit the 600-foot tall mountain, described as an “off-road playground” on its Web site.

The sand dune covers 4,795 acres, about 1,000 acres of which the conservationists consider critical to the butterfly.

Last fall the BLM implemented conservation efforts at the site it manages by discouraging off-road use in sensitive areas, but environmental groups argue that’s not enough to protect the tiny blue butterfly. ... /78203.php

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