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Karner Blue Butterfly Management and Off-Site Mitigation on Fort McCoy


Jessup Weichelt, Endangered Species Biologist, US Army – Fort McCoy:


The Karner Blue Butterfly (KBB) is a small butterfly that was listed as federally endangered in 1992. Fort McCoy has one of the largest remaining populations of this butterfly. The KBB produces two generations each year and is dependent on wild lupine, the sole host plant for the KBB larvae. Fort McCoy started managing for the KBB in the early 1990’s when the species was initially listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). By the early 2000s, Fort McCoy had met and was maintaining all conservation goals identified in/agreed to within the KBB Biological Opinion (BO). Incidental take for this species is measured in acres of wild lupine that is disturbed. Incidental take that results in the permanent removal of wild lupine from the landscape must be mitigated for by replacing that lost habitat. In 2012 Fort McCoy approached the FWS concerning the development of an off-installation mitigation agreement. The resulting agreement allows the installation to mitigate for the permanent loss of wild lupine off the installation by purchasing mitigation acres from the FWS by using a Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request (MIPR). The FWS, through a cooperative agreement, provides these funds to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), who has not yet met all of its KBB conservation goals. The WDNR uses the funds for KBB management activities. Since its inception in 2013, Fort McCoy has purchased 18.1 acres of mitigation and currently has 8.1 acres in the mitigation bank. This agreement has led to over $70,000 dollars being provided to the WDNR to help improve habitat for the KBB, and reduced potential restrictions to military training if the mitigation had occurred on the installation.

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