With no memorandum of understanding in place, Basham said the Fish and Wildlife Service now addresses burying beetle issues on a case-by-case basis through a sometimes long and costly review process.
The government recently reached a settlement with TransCanada on its proposed Keystone XL pipeline route, where the Canadian pipeline company agreed to buy and protect in perpetuity three acres for every one acre it disturbed.
The government lists 1,114 species as endangered. Most of those species have clearly defined habitats that can be avoided.
The American burying beetle, however, has a wide habitat range, including hills, plains, valleys, forests and grasslands.
“While this species is endangered across much of its range, it is very common in Oklahoma and Nebraska,” Basham said. “It's an uncommon problem to be constantly running into endangered species.”