- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 14, 2002

The discovery of some bugs protected under the Endangered Species Act threatens to scrap a $12 million state-of-the-art sports complex in Southern California.
The Delhi Sands flower-loving fly has interfered with construction of a school, hospital wing and recycling plan in Colton, Calif., and may now complicate plans to build a small-scale replica of a historic major-league sports complex.
"It's very frustrating to us," said Daryl Parrish, Colton's town manager.
"This particular project provides economic and recreation opportunities to this community. Not only that, but the proposed property is very, very blighted with dirt, weeds and trash," Mr. Parrish said.
"I call it fly-induced blight," Mr. Parrish said of his community, located one hour east of Los Angeles.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been conducting a two-year study to determine if the rare fly is in the vicinity of proposed construction near the fly's habitat the Delhi Sand Dunes.
The stadium project encompasses 17 acres, but the survey sight is 25 acres and includes surrounding land, some privately owned.
No flies were discovered last year, but one was found Aug. 11 and five male flies have been noted to date, Mr. Parrish said. The maximum penalty for harming or killing an endangered species is $100,000 for an individual and $200,000 for a corporation, and up to one year in jail.
A spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service yesterday could not confirm how many flies have been discovered. The survey ends Friday and a report will be issued 45 days later with the results and the recommendation on if and how construction should proceed.
There is no known number of flies that would prevent the project from moving forward, said Jane Hendron, information and educational specialist for the service in Carlsbad.
"It's not a question of specific numbers," Miss Hendron said. "What we are dealing with in the case of this particular species is a dramatic reduction of what was once its historic habitat. It exists in a small fraction of what was once considered a very large dune system."
No project has been completely blocked because of the fly, but town officials are concerned they will lose an expected $35 million in taxes if the company becomes frustrated and pulls the plug on construction.
"We have been able to work with project proponents to come up with workable solutions," Miss Hendron said.
The fly was listed as endangered in 1993 and has since frustrated community leaders. In 1999, The Washington Times reported a hospital was forced to move construction of a wing 350 feet north and set aside two acres of dune land for the flies. The bug also held up sewer and flood-control projects and construction of a middle school.
"We have blighted property because of this, property that cannot be developed and just sits there," Mr. Parrish said.
"And we have all of the illegal uses that go with it trash dumping, tires dumped and we can't even do weed abatement because the fly is there. It's atrocious, it's a terrible thing," Mr. Parrish said.
The fly, first scientifically noted in 1888, is unusual in that it is a pollinator it has the ability to hover over flowers like a hummingbird and uses its long tongue to draw nectar.

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