WASHINGTON — The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is announcing the start of open enrollment for San Juan and Lopez Islands landowners who would like to participate in a program to help restore Island Marble Butterflies.
These butterflies could soon be listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The Island Marble Butterfly is found nowhere except on San Juan Island, according to the WDFW. The butterflies were thought to be extinct since the early 1900s, but they were re-discovered by biologists during a survey in San Juan Island National Historical Park in 1998.
The Island Marble Butterfly does not migrate and they are only found on San Juan Island.
They are most visible in the spring when they are winged adults. Their primary food source is the mustard plant, according to WDFW.
Those who wish to enroll in a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurance (CCAA) for the Island Marble Butterflies will be asked to create patches of habitat for the butterfly to help with conservation efforts.
Landowners enrolled in a CCAA would experience no risk of violating the Endangered Species Act by inadvertently killing or injuring the butterflies so long as they participate in agreed conservation measures. Landowners can also withdraw from the CCAA at any time.
Enrollment in the CCAA is likely to continue through September, or until the Island Marble butterfly is listed under the ESA, which could happen sooner.
You can fill out an application for the CCAA here.
"We are asking landowners to get out ahead of potential ESA listing and voluntarily adopt a few best practices that will help the butterfly recover," said Hannah Anderson, WDFW endangered species section manager.