A native subspecies of longhorn beetle will remain listed as “threatened” under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service determined that the best currently available information does not support delisting the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle (VELB). This decision was published in the Federal Register on September 17, 2014.
The continuing listed status of the VELB means issues related to the beetle will need to be considered in project planning and CEQA analysis. Since VELB are highly reliant on elderberry bushes, project mitigation for the beetle often involves avoiding destruction of or replacing impacted elderberry bushes. Of note though, the Service determined the geographic range of the species does not extend into Kings, Kern, and Tulare Counties.
If new information becomes available that indicates the VELB no longer needs protection under the ESA, the Service will again consider delisting. Until then, watch those elderberry bushes during project planning.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s official press release can be found here: http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/outreach/2014/09-16/outreach_newsroom_2014-09-16.htm