Of Bats and Bumblebees
ACP dealt another blow
Never underestimate the power of the truth, even among the smallest of creatures, especially if those creatures happen to be rare crustaceans, bumblebees, mussels, and bats. On Friday, Dominion Energy’s unnecessary and destructive Atlantic Coast Pipeline just hit another roadblock when the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) permit citing a flawed biological opinion and incidental take statement regarding endangered or threatened animals.
Calling the USFWS permit “arbitrary and capricious,” the court’s 50-page opinion suggested that the federal agency had “lost sight of its mandate under the [Endangered Species Act] to protect and conserve endangered and threatened species and their habitats.” The specific four species cited in the case are the Rusty-patched Bumblebee; the Madison Cave isopod (a tiny water crustacean found in caves), the Clubshell Mussel, and the Indiana Bat.
Help the search for bumblebees
The federally endangered Rusty-patched Bumblebee (Bombus affinis) has been documented along the ACP in Bath County. However, chances are that this rare pollinator lives in Augusta and Highland counties as well as some places in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. We need help documenting this bee in other places along the pipeline paths.
The insects need a variety of native flowering plants from their emergence in early spring until the late fall as they are one of the last bumblebee species to go into hibernation. Searchers should look in grassland areas filled with blooming pollinator plants. If you find a bee you suspect to be a Rusty Patched Bumble Bee, PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CAPTURE IT. Take a photo, then contact the person below who can help make a positive ID from the photo. For bees found on National Forest land, email photos and location information to Steve Tanguay (email@example.com). For help identifying bees found on private land crossed by the pipeline projects, send the same information to T’ai Roulston (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Useful downloads with more information about this endangered bumblebee:
Fish and Wildlife Service:
U.S. Forest Service:
The top featured image was taken in Bath county in the direct path of the proposed ACP.