CCAA (Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances)
What are Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs)? These are voluntary conservation agreements between the Service and one or more non-Federal landowner(s). The Service works with its partners, including local, state and federal agencies, to
- Identify threats to Candidate Species (or species at risk)
- Plan the measures needed to remove or reduce the threats and conserve these species
- Identify willing landowners
- Develop agreements
- Design and implement conservation measures
- Monitor their effectiveness
The CCAA program is only available for non-Federal landowners on non-Federal lands and provides the assurance that if enrolled landowners implement various conservation activities, they will not be subject to additional restrictions if the covered species becomes listed under the Endangered Species Act. It is this very concern about the potential regulatory implications of having a listed species on their land that prompted the Service to develop this tool.
The WGO and FWS in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S Forest Service, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts have developed an umbrella Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA).
The Thunder Basin Grasslands Prairie Ecosystem Association is working with the Service to develop a CCAA for greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), sage sparrow (Amphispiza belli), Brewer's sparrow (Spizella breweri), sage thrasher (Oreoscoptes montanus), black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus), mountain plover (Charadrius montanus), burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) and ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis). The current vision for the CCAA is to have the association hold a permit that allows it to issue certificates of inclusion for participating non-Federal land owners in Campbell, Converse, Crook, Niobrara and Weston counties.
The 4W Ranch is a 29,000-acre cattle ranch in southwestern Weston and northwestern Niobrara counties. The ranch is bisected by the Cheyenne River, and the area immediately adjacent to the river, approximately one-half mile wide, contains a cottonwood riparian forest interspersed with hay fields. Moving north and south out of this riparian area, relatively flat short grass benches occur. These benches contain black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies, which also provide habitat for nesting mountain plovers (Charadrius montanus), burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia), and ferruginous hawks (Buteo regalis). In an effort to maintain these four species, as well as provide the ranch with assurances that in the event one or more species become listed under the Endangered Species Act, the 4W Ranch has entered into a CCAA with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Information and Resources for Individual Greater Sage-Grouse CCAA for Wyoming Ranch Management
CCAA Template Tools:
CCAA Documents and Information:
CCAA Frequently Asked Questions
National FWS Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances
FWS Wyoming Ecological Services Contact for CCAA
For more information call (307) 772-2374