Magazine article International Wildlife

Habitat Plan Improvements Not Good Enough

Magazine article International Wildlife

Habitat Plan Improvements Not Good Enough

Article excerpt

The Clinton administration's new strategy for improving Habitat Conservation Plans fails to address key weaknesses in these plans, say NWF endangered species experts. The plans are land-use agreements between the federal government and landowners that allow habitat destruction in return for some protection of endangered species. "It's important that the government is acknowledging the need to add more wildlife safeguards to the plans, but this new strategy relies too heavily on voluntary guidelines instead of enforceable standards," says John Kostyack, NWF counsel on endangered habitats. NWF is urging the administration to toughen its safeguards to ensure that:

* Long-term recovery of species is not undermined. For example, a Habitat Conservation Plan that calls for creation of artificial nest cavities for the red-cockaded woodpecker on public land while allowing continued destruction of natural habitat on private land does nothing to aid the woodpecker in the long run.

* The plans are flexible enough to change as new scientific information becomes available. …

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