Press Release
Service Extends Comment Period Seeking Ideas to Further Strengthen Incentives and Voluntary Partnerships for Landowner Conservation of Wildlife

May 11, 2012

Contacts:
Vanessa Kauffman
Vanessa_Kauffman@fws.gov
(703) 358-2138


The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced the extension of a public process exploring the expansion of incentives for voluntary partnerships with private landowners and other land stewards to help conserve imperiled wildlife. This effort is part of the Service’s commitment to use innovative approaches to restore and protect the habitats for wildlife and improve implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Service is committed to working with landowners to reverse species declines when possible — by taking early and effective actions to address threats that stabilize species and improve the health of at-risk wildlife — before they need the protection of the ESA. To view a copy of the notice, visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/improving_ESA/landowner_incentives.html.

This action seeks to improve existing conservation tools making them more effective, such as Habitat Conservation Plans, Safe Harbor Agreements, and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances. The Service is also seeking comments on how to improve incentives, such as pre-approved conservation credits, for landowners and others to take voluntary conservation actions beneficial to species that are candidates for addition to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, and for other at-risk species.

Potential ideas for improving incentives to landowners include establishing conservation “banks” for candidate and other at-risk species. Already in use in many parts of the country for listed species, conservation banks sell credits that allow landowners to offset the impact of their activities on those species, as well as to buy credits that reward landowners for making habitat improvements. By focusing its resources strategically, the bank can conserve habitat on a landscape scale and provide greater benefits to a species rather than having small, isolated patches of habitat on many different properties. Also under consideration is the development of a new type of agreement that would provide landowners with assurances that conservation actions taken to benefit species prior to listing could be used to offset the adverse effects of activities carried out later, in the event the species is listed.

For more information on the Service’s current landowner tools, visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/landowners/landowner-tools. html.

Please do not resubmit comments, as the Service has already incorporated them into the public record and will fully consider them as part of this process. New written comments can be submitted by one of the following methods:
  •  Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. [FWS–R9–ES–2011–0099]; or
  • U. S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS–R9–ES–2011–0099]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

Comments are requested within 60 days, on or before July 13, 2012. The Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.

The ESA provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. The Service is working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Endangered Species Program, visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.