U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ups standards to better protect wildlife
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an update of its mitigation policy to help counteract the extinction crisis with stronger, more consistent standards for offsetting impacts to wildlife.
The following is a statement by Eric Holst, associate vice president of working lands at Environmental Defense Fund:
“By creating stronger and more consistent standards, I am hopeful that this new mitigation policy will create a more efficient and effective means for safeguarding our nation’s iconic wildlife, from the greater sage-grouse in the West to the gopher tortoise in the Southeast, from California’s Chinook salmon to the beloved North American monarch butterfly.
“This guidance has been long sought after by industries, landowners and the conservation community. The existing policy was created in 1981 and has not been able to meet 21st century conservation demands, as evidenced by the hundreds of species awaiting listing decisions under the Endangered Species Act.
“With new threats posed by climate change, the time is ripe for policy that reflects the latest developments in science and economics. We now have the ability to better quantify impacts to species and habitats, and to trigger market mechanisms like habitat exchanges that create net benefit, ensuring long-term success. We also have the ability now to create conservation at an unprecedented scale and pace, to achieve results for an entire landscape.
“Today’s policy will help us tap into these advanced, landscape-scale approaches to maximize mitigation dollars, and to help unlock the vast, untapped conservation potential of America’s private working lands to protect wildlife.
– Environmental Defense Fund