Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Safe Harbor program for Red-cockaded Woodpecker in Alabama

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources recently initiated a statewide conservation program for the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. In the Safe Harbor Program, private landowners agree to manage their lands in ways that benefit endangered species, and in return, they receive a break from future regulations about those species.


Campbell Lanier III signed on as the first enrollee in the Alabama program. Lanier’s property includes Sehoy Plantation, where the ceremony was held, and Enon Plantation, also near Hurtsboro.

Lanier has been active in protecting wildlife habitat for many years, and was named Conservationist of the Year by the Alabama Wildlife Federation in 2004. More than 18,000 acres of the two plantations are currently protected under conservation easements. The rolling hills of Sehoy and Enon Plantations, expertly managed for bobwhite quail, also contain more than 12,000 acres of suitable RCW habitat.

“Enrolling in Safe Harbor was an easy decision for me once I had all the facts,” Cam Lanier said. “In a landscape managed for quail, aesthetics, and timber, managing for woodpeckers is something I was already doing. After researching the program, I realized that managing for an endangered species was not something to fear, but something I was already doing.”

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“Enrollment in the program doesn’t prevent the land from being used for other things,” said Gary Moody, the Department of Conservation’s wildlife section chief. “Other uses fit well with the management practices needed for RCW habitat, such as limited timber harvesting, hunting, cattle production or pine straw harvesting. Quail management is often recognized as a compatible use but many wildlife species benefit from the management for RCWs.”

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