By Al Sunshine, SouthFloridaReporter.com, Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition, Oct. 13, 2015 – Florida Wildlife officials have posted a formal state notice soliciting public comments about listing the Miami Tiger Beetle as an official Threatened species in Florida and eligible for statewide protection. A similar effort is also making its’ way thru the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service.
But now it’s mostly a game of “Beat the Clock”.
That’s because developers have proposed $1 Billion dollars worth of development in the endangered Richmond Pine Rocklands south of Miami. And that’s the only known home of the Miami Tiger Beetle in the world.
It was believed extinct several years ago, until a small colony of only about 100 were discovered on the site of the former Richmond Naval Air Station just south of Miami.
Recently, the biggest private tract of endangered Pine Rocklands were sold by the University of Miami to a Walmart Developer for $22 Million dollars. The school got it for free for research and education from the U-S Government, but sold it as soon as restrictions expired.
The land was rezoned for Commercial and Residential use with no disclosures about the dozens of rare and endangered plants and animals found there. Both the Developer and University of Miami Officials insist they didn’t know, even though there have been formal studies there for decades detailing its’ rare and endangered status.
The site is also targeted by a second group for the home of the Miami Wilds Theme Park.
The U-S Fish and Wildlife service has formally warned both groups about the critically endangered habitat there, and for now, all development plans are halted.
The Walmart Developer is currently submitting its’ Habitat Conservation Plan to get federal Permission to develop the land. It argues the Miami Tiger Beetle is not a distinct species and should not be given Federal Protection.
FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION Freshwater Fish and Wildlife Request for Written Comments on Biological Status The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has received a species evaluation request to list the Miami tiger beetle (Cicindelinia floridana) as a State-designated Threatened Species pursuant to 68A-27.0012(2), Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.). The Commission requests written information and data on the biological status of the Miami tiger beetle pursuant to 68A-27.0012(2)(c)2.b., F.A.C. The Commission is specifically requesting information on: population size and trends; distribution and range; threats to the species; published population viability models; and specific aspects of the species’ life history that may influence the status of the species. In accordance with 68A-27.0012(2)(d)2., F.A.C., information on the management needs and the socio/economic impacts of the listing will be sought at a future date, in preparation for the drafting of a species-specific action plan.
Information and data should be sent to: Melissa Tucker, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 620 S. Meridian Street, Mail Station 2A, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600. Responses will be accepted until 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 1, 2015.