On Tuesday, October 2, 2012, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register that would remove the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle from the list of species protected by the Endangered Species Act.
The Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle is endemic to California’s Central Valley. This subspecies is a wood borer that is dependent on its host plant, the elderberry. When the beetle was first included on the list in 1980, it was only known to exist at three locations in Merced, Sacramento, and Yolo County. Currently, the beetle is known to exist in over twenty six places, including the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys from Shasta to Kern County. The beetle lives in elderberry bushes in riparian forest and in upland vegetation along river corridors in the Central Valley.
In California, over 21,000 acres of land are designated as protected habitat for the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle.
If the proposed rule is made final, it will both remove the beetle from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, and remove the designation of critical habitat for the subspecies.
The proposed rule has a sixty two day comment period which ends on December 3, 2012. The FWS will conduct a public hearing upon request, although no hearing is currently planned.
The proposed rule can be found in the Federal Register at: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/10/02/2012-23843/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-removal-of-the-valley-elderberry-longhorn-beetle-from#h-8
(By Holly Roberson)