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Golden sedge
Asheville Citizen-Times, March 11, 2010

Critical habitat proposed for golden sedge

RALEIGH — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to designate critical habitat for the golden sedge, a plant listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

The proposed designation for the golden sedge is approximately 189 acres located in Onslow and Pender Counties in North Carolina. Citizens are invited to comment on this proposed critical habitat designation, published in the Federal Register. The Service will accept comments postmarked on or before May 10.

Threats to this sedge, which lasts for more than two growing seasons, include fire suppression, conversion of limited habitat for residential, commercial, or industrial development, highway and utility expansion, and wetland drainage activities associated with forestry, agriculture, and development projects. Herbicide applications along roadsides and utility rights of way also threaten its survival. In addition, permitting actions in wetlands by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could potentially impact this plant’s habitat.

Golden Sedge was described as a distinct species in 1994 and was listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act on January 23, 2002. A designation of critical habitat was found to be not prudent in the proposed listing rule (64 FR 44470; Aug. 16, 1999). Although a critical habitat designation was found to be prudent in the final listing rule, a proposed designation was delayed due to budgetary and workload constraints.

Since listing the sedge, the Service has developed a draft recovery plan to protect the plant and its habitat. The North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the North Carolina Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation, The North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, and Progress Energy have partnered with the Service to help implement the recommended recovery actions.

The complete proposal has been published in the Federal Register. A copy of the proposed rule can be obtained by visiting http://www.regulations.gov.

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