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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Announces MOU [Press Release]

March 23, 2023
Diana fritillary butterfly with orange, black and white wings stands on white flowers.

Service Signs Agreement to Advance Collaborative Conservation of At-Risk Species Within Private Working Forests Nationwide.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI), announced today a memorandum of understanding which formalizes the Wildlife Conservation Initiative (WCI), a collaborative partnership focused on advancing the conservation of at-risk and listed species within private working forests nationwide.

The partnership aligns with President Biden’s proclamation of National Agriculture Day and features three shared principles: the crucial role of private forest owners in species conservation, the importance of utilizing better data for improved conservation outcomes and the significant conservation value of modern sustainable forest management. The WCI is built upon the shared belief that effective species conservation efforts can be achieved through open dialogue, identifying common goals and supporting productive voluntary collaboration among stakeholders.

“This agreement strengthens an already impactful partnership leveraging the strengths of the Service, NAFO and NCASI. It underscores the importance of the contributions private forest owners make to wildlife and natural resource conservation,” said Service Director Martha Williams. “As we celebrate the proclamation of National Agriculture Day and mark the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, we are pleased to highlight the Wildlife Conservation Initiative as an important collaborative effort that serves as a model for how the Service and the private sector can proactively work together to conserve species. The Service invites any industry to use this agreement and the WCI as a model for voluntary collaboration.”

The WCI has ongoing species conservation projects in every Service region where NAFO members own or manage significant acres of working forests. The initiative makes more than 46 million acres of private working forests – an area larger than Washington State – available for collaborative species conservation initiatives. Through the open dialogue of the WCI, private forest owners and the Service are working together to determine the presence of species on private forest lands, the status of forest conditions and the impacts of active forest management on wildlife and their habitats…

Read the full press release at