The Leona’s little blue butterfly was discovered in 1995. It is found only in Oregon and is specifically adapted to the volcanic ecosystem of the Mazama ash fields in Klamath County. The butterfly is threatened by the intrusion of lodgepole pine on its habitat and at risk from forest fires, human pressures, and other stressors. In 2010, Crag’s clients, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and Oregon Wild, petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Leona’s butterfly as an endangered species.
The Fish and Wildlife Service was legally required to determine whether the butterfly should be listed within twelve months, but has delayed its analysis for years. Meanwhile, the Leona’s little blue remains unprotected. In response to this delay, Crag requested a legal order requiring agency action on behalf of the Xerces Society and Oregon Wild. During oral argument, Crag attorney Chris Winter expressed concern over the extended delay and the tenuous position of the butterfly. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman responded by granting the injunction and instructing the agency to make its decision by June of 2015.