FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 25, 1998

Contact: Diana M. Hawkins

SECRETARY BABBITT SIGNS STATEWIDE AGREEMENT TO

PROTECT ENDANGERED RED COCKADED WOODPECKER

Department of Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt will sign a South Carolina, state-wide, Safe Harbor agreement Thursday, March 26, 1998, to protect the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. With the signing of the agreement, South Carolina joins Texas as the second state to provide safe harbors for the woodpecker. Safe Harbor programs provide incentives for landowners to protect endangered species on their property. Already, 15 landowners have committed to participate in this program, bringing 84,000 acres of land into protection for the woodpecker. This agreement will instantly protect 30-40% of the endangered woodpeckers known on private lands. Many additional landowners are expected to join in this conservation partnership. Six other southeastern states are also pursuing similar state-wide initiatives. Agreements such as Safe Harbors are expected to reverse the decline of red cockaded woodpeckers and contribute to their eventual recovery.

WHAT: Secretary Babbitt will be joined by private landowners and conservationists as he releases captive, red-cockaded woodpeckers into the wild and announces the nation's first state-wide Safe Harbor agreement.

SPEAKERS: Secretary Bruce Babbitt, Department of Interior

Angela Viney, South Carolina Wildlife Federation

Robert Bonnie, Environmental Defense Fund

Bill Baughman, Westvaco

Paul Sandifer, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Lamar Comolander, Milliken Forestry Company, Inc.

WHERE: Westvaco Corporation's Bonneau Ferry Conference Center, located near Cordesville, SC (HWY 402). Map is attached.

WHEN: Thursday, March 26, 1998.

10:00- 10:30am: Secretary will release captive woodpeckers

11:00am: Assemble at Westvaco's Plantation House

11:15am: Safe Harbor Permit Signing

* Media representatives who wish to attend this event should contact Westvaco Public Affairs Forester Tom Jewell at 843/851-4635. B-roll footage of the red-cockaded woodpecker in beta format furnished by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is available from Mr. Jewell.

Release #: R98-019


1998 News Releases

Go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region Home Page