Nevada City, CA — Wait! Don’t kill that roach. It could be protected. It could be the rare and endangered Gigantic Sierra Nevada Roach (Parcoblatta biggus sierra nevadaiensis), recently discovered around the foot of Broad Street in Nevada City, CA.
Environmentalists and entomologists are hailing the announcement on Mother’s Day by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that the Sierra Nevada roach will be protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). All of Nevada City is being listed as critical roach habitat.
News of the listing and resulting prohibition on the use of an pesticides was received with applause by the Local chapter of the Society of People Sensitive To Environmental Chemicals, Especially Pesticides or SoPSECES (pronounced So-Pee-Cees). Group spokesperson Sharon Bitterly announced, “This is a great day for people in Nevada City who are tired of all the chemicals being sprayed to kill roaches and other pests. Now spraying is illegal, but not to save people from being poisoned. It’s to save that stupid roach. But whatever works to reduce chemical spraying is fine by us.”
Environmentalists were more concerned with saving the roaches.
“This is a great day for biodiversity and endangered species protection”, beamed Nathan Wright, a member of the Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy. “I know some people don’t appreciate why Nevada City is being set aside as critical habitat for the Sierra Nevada roach. They think roaches don’t matter. But they do,” he insisted.
An anonymous spokesperson for Fish and Wildlife, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it’s “important” that we “save” endangered species from “extinction”, regardless of what that species “is”.
Professor Bert Nimbet, director of the Center for Diverse Biology at UC Davis released a press release stating, “It doesn’t matter that this is a roach. It could be a slug, or a fruit fly, or even a mosquito. If Nature made it, it is our responsibility to save it from extinction.”
But not all Nevada City residents agreed.
“I think it’s foolish to prevent people throughout Neveda City from killing bugs just because it might harm a stupid roach,” commented Seth Meyer of Nevada City. “Geez! Nobody’s gonna stop me from stepping on any roaches I see. How are they gonna enforce that stupid critical habitat thing, anyway?”
Other residents shared similar concerns about enforcement, prompting local businesswoman Alex Jones to develop a smartphone app that allows users to identify roaches to make sure it is not the protected Sierra Nevada roach before stepping on it.
Anti-development groups also hailed the critical habitat listing since this would stop all development in Nevada City for fear that ground disturbance could harm the roaches. Anyone doing home remodeling will need a special incidental “take” permit from Fish and Wildlife.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce has developed a plan to boost tourism by promoting the roach.