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Protections proposed for prairie wildlife

Nov 21, 2012

Streaked horned lark and Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly could gain protections, along with Washington’s native woodland prairies. Public comment deadline is December 9, 2012.

Protections proposed for prairie wildlife

Taking action for a lark. Photo: Rod Gilbert

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to extend Endangered Species Act protections to the streaked horned lark and Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly and their critical habitat of Washington’s native woodland prairies.

Comment online by December 9th!

One of those critical habitats is the site of the proposed Cross-Base Highway, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Pierce County, home to rare remaining prairie plants and animals in the Washington. If constructed, the Cross-Base Highway would carve apart one of the last, best remaining native prairies in western Washington and destroy 162 acres of unique old-growth oak woodlands.

Native prairies are the state’s fastest disappearing ecosystem. Development, agriculture, and forest and invasive species encroachment have shrunk Washington's native prairie habitat to just 3 percent, effecting many rare Washington prairie plants and animals.

Streaked horned larks depend on prairies and prairie vegetation for nesting in spring and insulation in winter. Little enough remains. The lark is already extirpated at the top of their range in British Columbia. At every stage life, Taylor's checkerspot butterflies require native plants found in woodland prairies and coastal grasslands. This butterfly, once known from more than 80 locations range-wide, has died back to just 15 sites in Washington and 3 sites in Oregon. Take action online to protect their habitat.

Learn about the birds and the butterflies
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