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AP News: Regulators, Landowners From Habitat Protection Partnership

March 23, 2023
Gopher Tortoise stands in grass
Gopher tortoise.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — The Biden administration and industry groups pledged Thursday to promote logging practices and research intended to protect imperiled species on private forest lands.

The agreement between the government, the National Alliance of Forest Owners and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement aims to halt a “historical pattern of costly litigation and counterproductive conflict” between industry and regulators, said Ethan Breitling, spokesman for the alliance.

It comes after the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a rule in February that would encourage voluntary conservation projects on private land, partly by shielding owners from punishment if their actions kill or harm small numbers of imperiled species.

The memorandum formally recognizes the Wildlife Conservation Initiative, a partnership with 14 research projects underway around the U.S. They focus on species including the red tree vole in the Pacific Northwest, the Western pond turtle in the Southwest, the wood turtle in the Midwest and a variety of Eastern butterflies and migratory birds.

A primary goal is cutting and planting trees in ways that enable landowners to make money yet prevent further harm to wildlife that could lead the service to designate them as threatened or endangered, said Dave Tenny, president of the forest alliance.

Read the full article by John Flesher at APNews.com