Sunday, January 11, 2015

Have you seen these beetles on Turkey Mountain?

One thing that could stop or at least greatly hinder the Simon Premium Outlet Mall is an insect.
The American Burying Beetle is on the Endangered Species list, and has been reported in five US states, including Oklahoma. A Google search turns up tons of reading, and it appears to me that this is a real possibility. explains the Endangers Species Act and the ABB.
"American Burying Beetle (Nebraska, Arkansas, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Kansas.) At about 1.5-inches-long, the American burying beetle is an expert recycler, taking biological waste underground to make food for its family. Managing biological waste is essential to maintaining healthy ecosystems. Bugs like the burying beetle break down organic matter from dead animals and recycle it into nutrients that help replenish the soil. 
The burying beetle once thrived in every state east of the Rockies, but it has since disappeared from more than 90 percent of its historic range. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed populations in six states: Nebraska, Arkansas,
Rhode Island, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Kansas. Due to this sharp decline, the American burying beetle was added to the list of endangered species in 1989. Through dedicated conservation efforts, burying beetles are starting to make a long awaited

Extensive testing has to be done before any development can be performed and  I am certain this area will not be exempt. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has extensive information on this at this link American Burying Beetle Conservation Strategy For the Establishment, Management, and Operations of Mitigation Lands

"All proposals for mitigation lands submitted to the Service should include a complete habitat assessment of the proposed property with the following information:
1. A map clearly indicating the location of the property being considered for mitigation
2. A current aerial photo with:
        a. the date the photo was taken, and
        b. the property boundary;
3. Detailed descriptions identifying the vegetation types described as habitat for each
species and non-habitat types, and on-the-ground methods used to evaluate the habitat;
4. A map delineating habitat types identified for target species and their buffer areas on the property;
5. Detailed descriptions of species survey methods and results (including relevant GIS
data); and
6. Description of current land uses, structures, access management (fences, roads, etc.),
known exotic or invasive species, any and ongoing management actions."

Turkey Mountain is a very favorable environment for the ABB. The testing is best performed in the late spring and summer months. I would expect we should not see a lot of earth moving until these tests are complete. 
 A precedent for this was set  less than a year ago in Edmond Oklahoma.  

It's a long shot that there actually ARE American Burying Beetles on Turkey Mountain. They are nocturnal, and build their home in small decaying animals which they bury. They can smell and travel miles for carrion.
More reading about the American Burying Beetle can be read here.

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