U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Enters Into Safe Harbor Agreement in Monterey County to Protect Federally Listed Species
Apr 26, 2012
Media Contacts:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Enters Into Safe Harbor Agreement in Monterey County to Protect Federally Listed Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has entered into a Safe Harbor Agreement with the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District to benefit four federally listed species at the 4,300-acre Palo Corona Regional Park in Monterey County, California. 

The Service, the regional park district, and The Nature Conservancy worked collaboratively to develop a 30-year agreement that identifies management activities that would benefit the threatened California red-legged frog and California tiger salamander as well as the endangered Smith’s blue butterfly and Yadon’s piperia, a native plant.

“The agreement is a first for the park district and will support other landscape conservation efforts involving grazing, fuel management, weed management, and public access for the next 30-years,” said Tim Jensen, District Planning and Conservation manager. “The Service was very helpful and supportive in crafting an agreement that works to achieve conservation goals within the district’s financial capacity.”

Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, non-federal landowners voluntarily undertake management activities on their property that would provide a net conservation benefit to species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), such as enhancing, restoring, or maintaining habitat for the listed species while continuing their current land-use practices, such as cattle grazing. In return for voluntary conservation commitments, a permit associated with the Safe Harbor Agreement authorizes incidental take of listed species that may result from actions described in the agreement and guarantees landowners that they will not be subject to property-use restrictions if they increase the number of listed species on their property. Also, at the end of the agreement period landowners may return their property to the baseline conditions that existed at the beginning of the Safe Harbor Agreement.

The Safe Harbor Agreement for Palo Corona Regional Park outlines ways the park district can promote the conservation of the four species by creating, restoring, enhancing, and maintaining ponds for California red-legged frogs and California tiger salamanders, controlling nonnative grasses to enhance shrub habitat on about 1,400 acres of coastal terrace prairie grasslands for Smith’s blue butterflies, and controlling nonnative vegetation in areas occupied by Yadon’s piperia. The regional park district will continue its ranching, public recreation, and park maintenance activities.

“We believe the Safe Harbor Agreement with the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District has established a valuable partnership that will promote the conservation of listed species at Palo Corona Regional Park,” said Mary Root, the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office’s assistant field supervisor for Conservation Partnerships.

“The Palo Corona Regional Park Safe Harbor agreement balances the needs of nature and people,” said Brian Stranko, The Nature Conservancy’s North and Central Coast regional director. “We can protect endangered species, manage grazing to achieve conservation objectives, and maintain park activities with this balanced conservation approach.”

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/.  

To view the Safe Harbor Agreement at Palo Corona Regional Park and for information about the California tiger salamander, California red-legged frog, Smith’s blue butterfly, Yadon’s piperia and other federally listed species, go to http://www.fws.gov/ventura. For information about the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District and Palo Corona Regional Park, go to http://mprpd.org/index.cfm/id/4/Planning-Conservation.

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. Connect with our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/usfwspacificsouthwest, follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/USFWSPacSWest, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/

Contact Us
Phone: 805-644-1766 / Fax: 805-644-3958