A rare butterfly and the threatened plant it lives on, may land Yamhill County in court. Rob Manning reports on a lawsuit threat, filed Monday.
The Fender’s blue butterfly tends to live in western Oregon where Kincaid’s lupine grows. But road grading and landscaping activities that Yamhill County has done appear to be killing both the butterfly and the lupine.
Both are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Scott Black with the Portland-based Xerxes Society says the county has had plenty of chances to change its practices.
Scott Black: “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has met with them on five different occasions to express concerns. And, has actually offered them funding to develop a habitat conservation plan for the butterfly.”
Black says Benton County accepted a grant to craft such a plan.
In a discussion of the butterfly and lupine last May, Yamhill County commissioners doubted that roadside activities were actually harming the listed species.
Commissioners also worried that potential future costs could land on the county and private landowners.
Related story from Oregon Field Guide
Several endangered Oregon species, including the Kincaid's lupine and the Fender's blue butterfly rely on oak savannah, a type of habitat that once covered a million acres in the Willamette Valley. Now only pockets of the distinctive landscape of huge oaks and open grassland remains.