For Immediate Release
May 7, 1999

Contact: Tom MacKenzie
404/679-7291

Site of U.S. Open a Hole-in-One for the Endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

Endangered Red-Cockaded WoodpeckerActually, there are 15 holes in 15 trees that provide possible nesting sites for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker at Pinehurst No. 2, site of the 1999 U.S. Open.

The Pinehurst agreement represents a success story in the protection of endangered species, illustrating that landowners can reap economic benefits from their lands while simultaneously protecting endangered species.

It all started in 1995, when Pinehurst teamed up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Defense Fund to protect habitat for up to 18 groups of these endangered birds and became a role model for golf courses and private landowners throughout the United States. This partnership illustrates that for some species of plants and animals, golf courses can play a significant role in the protection and restoration of rare, threatened, or endangered species.

In March, 1995, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt used the backdrop of Pinehurst, near the village of Pinehurst, 71 miles south of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to announce a new program, dubbed "Safe Harbor," to protect habitat for the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker in the North Carolina Sandhills. In July, 1995, Pinehurst was the first ever landowner to enter into a Safe Harbor agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

U.S. Open spectators will see red-cockaded woodpecker nesting cavity trees, identified by a white rectangular sign featuring a drawing of the woodpecker that identifies the tree as an "Endangered Species Site."

The Pinehurst Safe Harbor Agreement led the way for 24 additional landowners in the North Carolina Sandhills, including nine golf courses, to enter into similar agreements. These landowners have protected nesting and foraging habitat for 50 groups of red-cockaded woodpeckers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprising more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies.

Interviews, photos & B-roll available:

Kimberly Erusha Tom MacKenzie
United States Golf Association U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(908) 234-2300 ext. 5498 (404) 679-7291

Brad Kocher Lisa Swann
Pinehurst Environmental Defense Fund
(910) 295-6811 (202) 387-3500

Release #: R99-039


1999 News Releases

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