Pyramid’s plans a threat to Karner blue butterfly

To the Editor:

This is an open letter to Guilderland’s town planner, Ken Kovalchik, and the Guilderland Planning Board.

I am writing as an advocate for species under threat of extinction.

I am aware that Pyramid LLC has proposed to develop 47 acres of land in the Pine Bush, a rare habitat  necessary to the survival of an ecosystem with a startling number of rare species sustained by it.

During the course of my research, I discovered that Karner blue butterfly, federally listed as an endangered species in both the United States and Canada, has been extirpated from huge swathes of its terrain.

Most disturbing is the disappearance of 21 populations of Karner blue in disparate regions of Ontario, Canada. In 1971, there were 21 populations; in 1986, some had been extirpated. In 2008, the Karner blue butterfly was listed as endangered by the Canadian government. At this writing, they no longer live in the entire province of Ontario.

I also discussed the Karner Blue with a United States Geological Survey researcher, Ralph Grundel, in Indiana. He was sad to report that their last population of Karner blue butterflies has now been extirpated from the state.

Karner blue butterflies are extremely sensitive to any disturbance. The Crossgates Hill population has been described as the most stable breeding population of Karner blues in Albany. We would hate to see their numbers decrease.

Please rethink approving this additional development on the basis of the science that we have. It shows that enough habitat has been taken. That buffers matter. That Pine Bush species need peripheral territory to flee to in times of fire or disturbance. That the Karner blue butterfly will not tolerate environmental disturbance or habitat loss.

Thank you for considering these sobering realities,

Grace Nichols

Save the Pine Bush

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