NRCS Wildlife Initiative Supports Private Land, Conservation Link
Agreement builds relationship between conservation practices and working agricultural lands; provides regulatory certainty
Published: Sep 19, 2012
Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe on Monday announced an agreement that will provide long-term regulatory predictability for up to 30 years to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners participating in the USDA Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative. Participants voluntarily implement conservation practices designed to protect wildlife habitat, including several at-risk and vulnerable game species on private lands.
"This agreement will change the way we manage at-risk species on private lands," White said. "It will provide landowners with a mechanism to keep working lands in production while complying with the Endangered Species Act, and will facilitate restoration of habitat for at-risk species. It also will help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners rest a little easier knowing their operations are protected for the long term and that they are contributing to conserving vital natural resources."
WLFW will work to restore habitats for priority species across the country, including the Greater Sage-Grouse.The agreement builds on a $33 million investment NRCS announced last spring dedicated toward producers who develop and implement conservation plans to manage and restore high-priority habitats for seven specific wildlife species across the country. The species are greater sage-grouse, New England cottontail, bog turtle, golden-winged warbler, gopher tortoise, lesser prairie-chicken and the Southwestern willow flycatcher. NRCS, FWS and numerous state and local entities are partnering to implement WLFW.
Ashe said the agreement shows compatibility between working lands and species conservation. "This important partnership underscores the outstanding conservation stewardship provided by America's farmers and ranchers across the country," Ashe said. "We are pleased to be able to support this creative partnership that provides predictability to landowners who volunteer to implement conservation practices that benefit wildlife."
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