director Blog : Endangered Species Act

Interior, Agriculture and Defense Departments Conserve Wildlife Habitat Near Military Bases

Streaked horn larkThe streaked horn lark is just one species that will be helped by the first Sentinel Landscapes project. Photo by David Maloney

You may not think of it right away, but the U.S. military is an important partner in conservation.  Many military bases include thousands of acres of prime habitat for wildlife, and we and other federal agencies have increasingly worked hand-in-hand with our armed services on conservation projects that ensure military readiness is maintained.

In May, for example, we honored Navy Base Coronado in California for its successful management of  nesting areas used by the endangered California least tern and threatened western snowy plover and for its conservation efforts on San Clemente Island to remove non-native species and help wildlife recover – all this in addition to the base’s main job of protecting our nation.

Today, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell joined Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Defense Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Installations and Environment John Conger to announce the Sentinel Landscapes program, an initiative designed to conserve wildlife habitat in areas around military bases.


We Need Farmers’ Conservation Stewardship

Before we had an Endangered Species Act, or indeed a conservation movement, farmers, ranchers and other private landowners were the ones caring for the land and managing habitat for wild life. And we need to keep these working families on the land they’ve stewarded for generations.

Farm A farm field at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland. Photo by USFWS

That is why I was so glad to talk with the folks at the American Farm Bureau Federation last week.

I am deeply concerned about the world’s growing population and how more land, water and resources for people mean less for wild life.

We also know that almost 75 percent of the land in this country is privately owned, and many of the species we care for depend on private land for a significant part of their habitat.

So we must help working families protect and sustain wild life in ways that enable them to continue making a living from the land.

This is not easy.

Conservation is about restraint. If we want wild life in certain areas, we have to make a conscious decision to make a space for them in the landscape. 

That means sacrifice because we have less land available for other purposes.

But it does not mean completely giving up the economic benefits of the land.


Conserving 'All' Chimpanzees

We are proposing today to give all chimpanzees the full protections of the Endangered Species Act, or ESA.

Chimpanzees by Chi King, Flickr

Threats batter chimpanzees as habitat loss, poaching and disease continue. A growing human population across the 22 countries of Equatorial Africa is also taking its toll. As humans demand more, chimpanzees get less -- Less land, less water, less food, less everything.

More information on protecting chimpanzees

Conservation heroes like British primatologist Jane Goodall have dedicated their lives to understand chimpanzees in the wild and raise worldwide awareness about their plight.  We stand with Dr. Goodall and others today in the hope that this proposal will ignite renewed public interest in the status of chimpanzees in the wild.

We have also been helping chimpanzees for years. Our Great Ape Conservation Fund has been steadily promoting their conservation.


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Last updated: August 31, 2011