Service Completes and Initiates Use of Black-footed Ferret Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement
For Immediate Release
October 30, 2013
DENVER--The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has completed a Black-footed Ferret Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) in cooperation with State, Tribal, Federal, and local partners in 12 states after more than two years of collaborative effort. This SHA provides opportunities for private and Tribal landowners to volunteer their lands for reintroductions of this endangered species without affecting their land-use activities beyond mutually agreed-upon measures. It also extends these assurances to surrounding non-participating lands and other landowner interests. This SHA will be an important step in promoting the recovery of this iconic species.
The Service delivered a notice of availability (NOA) of a draft SHA and draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to the Federal Register for a 30-day public review and comment on December 19, 2012. An extension of the comment period and availability of the documents for public review and contact information was announced in the Federal Register on January 23, 2013.
The final SHA and EA will be available online at: www.blackfootedferret.org. Anyone needing a printed or electronic copy of the SHA and EA or the NOA published in the Federal Register should contact the Service at 970-897-2730 or request a printed or electronic copy by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the first enrollees in this SHA in the country, Gary and Georgia Walker who ranch near Pueblo, Colorado, will welcome captive raised black-footed ferrets on their property this week. These soon to be wild animals have been preconditioned for release in the wild by living in prairie dog burrows in predator proof pens, as well as having had the opportunity to prey on these rodents which are their principal food in the wild.
“The return of this species to eastern Colorado is a testament to the State’s commitment to wildlife and the willingness of reasonable partners to accommodate both conservation and business interests,” said Mr. Walker.