- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Federal officials have reopened the public comment period on its proposal to designate critical habitat for two Upper Midwest butterfly species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year proposed listing the Dakota skipper as threatened and the Poweshiek skipperling as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Both species are native to prairie and upland grasslands and their declines have been blamed on the loss of habitat. Dakota skippers can be found in North Dakota and South Dakota.

Officials want to designate approximately more than 27,000 acres of critical habitat for the Dakota skipper and approximately 26,000 acres for the Poweshiek skipperling. The agency says many of those areas overlap and therefore only about 39,000 acres would be affected.

Comments on the habitat designations will be accepted through Oct. 23.

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