23
Jul
2004

Keeping the Northwest Wild

WILD NORTHWEST, July 21, 2004

A Message from Northwest Ecosystem Alliance

"No Surprises" for Landowners, No Recovery for Endangered Species Fair policy needed to help restore imperiled fish and wildlife

The Endangered Species Act serves as the safety net for fish and wildlife facing imminent extinction. For those endangered species that live on non-federal lands, the ESA allows timber companies, developers, and other landowners to negotiate agreements -- called "Habitat Conservation Plans" -- that specify protection for certain wildlife habitat while allowing other habitat to be destroyed. Unfortunately, these multi-decade agreements contain a "No Surprises" provision that allow landowners to prevent any changes, based on new scientific information or changing circumstances, that might improve endangered species recovery. The "No Surprises" rule also forces taxpayers to shoulder the cost of any changes.

After losing a court battle, the government is now reconsidering rules that protect and promote recovery of endangered species on non-federal lands, and they need to hear from you. We live in a changing world. As new scientific information and better management approaches becomes available, they should be applied to improve recovery of endangered species. Similarly, as circumstances change -- new threats emerge like west Nile virus or sudden oak death syndrome -- conservation plans should be adjusted appropriately. Although it may seem like common sense, the "No Surprises" policy does not ensure this will happen.

Comments must be received by Monday, July 26, 2004.

Please write to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and tell them to reform the "No Surprises" rule.

Send comments to:
Chief, Division of Consultation
Habitat Conservation Planning, Recovery, and State Grants
US Fish & Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Dr., #420
Arlington, VA, 22203
Fax: 703.358.2229. Email: pprr@fws.gov

Talking Points:

Reform the "No Surprises" policy and other ESA rules to:

- Require that "Habitat Conservation Plans" be periodically evaluated for their effectiveness in endangered species recovery.

- Require "Habitat Conservation Plans" to be periodically modified to incorporate new scientific information or changed conditions and circumstances that affect endangered species recovery.

- Specify that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has the authority to modify or revoke "Habitat Conservation Plans" if they are found to impair long-term recovery of imperiled fish and wildlife.

- Require landowners, developers, and other landowners to post performance bonds to ensure accountability.

For more information, visit the Endangered Species Coalition site, //www.stopextinction.org/Issues/IssuesList.cfm?c=35.

Please reply to this email to let us know that you took action. And
thank you for speaking out to protect endangered species!

Erin Moore
Communications Coordinator
Northwest Ecosystem Alliance
1208 Bay St., Ste. 201
Bellingham, WA 98225
360.671.9950 ext. 24

Keeping the Northwest wild. For further information, please visit
//www.ecosystem.org .


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