Karner blue butterfly habitat conservation plan

Picture of partners joining hands.

The Endangered Species Act was passed by Congress in 1973. The overall purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to conserve the ecosystems that rare species depend on, and to protect those species from going extinct. To do this, the federal government "lists" species that are in danger of going extinct. Once on the threatened and endangered species list, these plants and animals are protected from actions that could cause them harm. Habitat conservation plans are designed to protect and conserve those species, while allowing activities to occur that could impact the species or its habitat. To learn more about the history of the Endangered Species Act and habitat conservation plans visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Website [exit DNR].

The Wisconsin Karner Blue Butterfly Habitat Conservation Plan is unique – Approved in September 1999, the Wisconsin Karner blue butterfly plan is based on a legal agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and an array of public and private land managers. Forty-one major land managers participate as plan partners, including representatives from the forest industry, utility companies, and roadway management authorities. The partnership works in cooperation with countless volunteer groups and concerned citizens across a vast area of Wisconsin to incorporate consideration of the Karner blue in land-use decisions.

Three-year review

In turn, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows land managers some flexibility in how they protect Karner blue habitat. The most innovative part of this program is the approach to private landowners. The habitat conservation plan lets small landowners participate in Karner blue conservation voluntarily, free from regulation. Together, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the DNR, plan partners, and Wisconsin citizens are building trust and making conservation work.

We are pleased to report that Wisconsin citizens have responded to the call to protect the Karner blue. Free from regulatory burdens, small private landowners have begun to embrace conservation willingly, and public attitudes toward endangered species management have become more positive. Good-will collaboration has established an uncommon trust between federal, state and local governments and citizens, enabling meaningful and widespread protection of Karner blue populations.

The three-year participation strategy review report highlights a few of the voluntary conservation success stories that illustrate the spirit of HCP and its voluntary participation strategy. We feel these stories showcase the intangible benefits of cooperation and flexibility that make the HCP work not only for Partners, but for the entire state.

A printable version of the 3-year participation strategy review report [PDF] is available for download.

Annual reports

Every year the Department of Natural Resources publishes an annual report detailing the status of the HCP partnership and reports on the conservation efforts that have been taken by HCP partners.

Karner blue male
Karner blue male

Last revised: Friday September 14 2012