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Rare Butterfly Gets EPA Protection

August 8, 2002

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RENO, Nev. (AP) _ A thumbnail-size butterfly found only in two counties along the northern Nevada-California border was given permanent protection Wednesday under the Endangered Species Act.

The listing published in the Federal Register makes permanent an emergency action taken last November by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Carson wandering skipper.

``We know of only two populations of the skipper and both are threatened with habitat destruction,″ said Bob Williams, supervisor of the Fish and Wildlife Service in Nevada.

One small population of skipper is found in California’s Lassen County near Honey Lake, and the other is in Warm Springs Valley north of Reno, experts say.

The Fish and Wildlife Service, which is charged with enforcing the Endangered Species Act, took action last November out of concern that pending water export projects and other threats would doom the skipper to extinction. The action protected the butterfly for 240 days and required state agencies and landowners to consult with the wildlife service before disturbing the skipper’s habitat.

A tiny, tawny-orange butterfly, the skipper generally is seen only for about a month around June when adults search for flower nectar. Adulthood spans only about two weeks.

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