Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feds Give Beetle Buyout to Bay Owners

Federal grant to protect endangered beetles in Md. cliffs
The Obama administration announced Wednesday it is providing $2.4 million to protect endangered Puritan beetles living in cliffs overlooking the Chesapeake Bay.

The land acquired in Calvert and Cecil counties with the federal grant boosts the rare insect's chances of survival, officials said. But it also gives a ray of hope to Calvert bayfront homeowners who've been barred from shoring up their crumbling cliffs because of the federally protected beetles on their property.

The grant, among $53 million in payouts for endangered species protection nationally, would be paid to six landowners in the two counties for easements guaranteeing that rare beetle habitat on more than 450 acres would remain permanently undisturbed. The largest is a 230-acre Girl Scout camp on the Sassafras River in Cecil.
This article isn't all that clear to me, but is sound as if the grants are being used to protect some particularly good beetle habitat, and having that protected, will allow relaxed regulation on cliff protection in some other areas (like communities with lots of cliff hanging houses, like, say ours?).  I'll believe the relaxed regulation on that when I see it.
Leopoldo Miranda, supervisor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Chesapeake Bay field office, said the easements would put recovery of the rare beetle within reach, and would give the federal agency more flexibility in dealing with homeowners seeking permits to shore up the cliffs beneath their dwellings.

Three of six groups of beetles identified by biologists already have been protected, he said, and the grant would safeguard two more. With the insect's long-term survival more assured, regulators would have greater latitude under federal and state endangered species laws to let homeowners try to stabilize their cliffs even if it would cause the "incidental" loss of some beetles.
As I've shown earlier, with photographic evidence, the Puritan Tiger Beetle is a present in swarms on our beaches here, mostly in the areas up past the cottages, where there are few structures, and little demand for cliff reinforcement. 

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