02-26-13 NACD Comments on FWS Black-Footed Ferret Reintroduction Proposal…
Posted by Brian Allmer on February 26, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Feb. 26, 2013—The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) submittedcomments in response to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) draft guidance for reintroduction of the Black-Footed Ferret under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Draft Black-Footed Ferret Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement (Agreement) and Draft Environmental Assessment for the Black-Footed Ferret Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement (EA) outline FWS’ plans for reintroduction of the Black-Footed Ferret in a 12-state area, as well the concerns and obstacles related to its successful reintroduction.
“Conservation districts nationwide remain active on conservation activities surrounding species listed, proposed plans, and candidate species regarding the ESA,” said NACD President Earl Garber. “NACD is encouraged to see FWS taking a proactive role in this proposal by working with landowners on a voluntary basis for enrollment of lands for species conservation.”
As a national voice for conservation of natural resources on private and public lands, NACD is appreciative of FWS’ approach to addressing the Black-Footed Ferret. While the proposal is a step in the right direction, NACD’s comments outline several suggestions and concerns for both the draft Agreement and the EA to ensure the intent and desired outcomes are clear between all parties involved.
“It is NACD’s hope that while the conservation activities directly related to the ferret are recognized, that additional voluntary conservation activities on lands throughout the range will be taken into consideration for the benefit of the species,” Garber said.
Additionally, within its proposal (page 18, Draft Agreement), FWS lists the “likely partners in the implementation of the conservation activities include but are not limited to…” Conservation districts are not currently included in this list. NACD requests that districts be added to the list for recognition as a close partner and strong proponent of private landowners working on voluntary conservation practices on their lands. America’s 3,000 locally-led conservation districts work with millions of cooperating landowners and operators to help manage and protect land and water resources, including wildlife, on private and public lands.
To view the full comments, click here: http://nacdnet.org/dmdocuments/NACD_Response_to_Black-Footed_Ferret_Comment.pdf.
The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit: www.nacdnet.org.