Listing Decision for Pacific Fisher

In November 2019, the US. Fish Service proposed to list the West Coast population of the pacific fisher as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. FLA and several of its members and partners submitted comments urging the Service not to list the fisher, arguing that the Service must take into account the many voluntary conservation efforts already in place to protect the species.

Based on the comments and data it received, the Service divided the West Coast population of fisher into two distinct segments: the Southern Sierra Nevada population and the Northern California-Southern Oregon population. The Service is listing the Sierra Nevada population as endangered, primarily due to the stated threats of fire risk and tree mortality.

However, the Northern California-Southern Oregon population will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act, thanks to voluntary efforts to protect the species. Many of these efforts are being conducted by FLA members and their partners, and we commend them for their hard work to keep this species off the list.

“The partnership between private timberland owners and the Service demonstrates how productive forestry can operate in a manner that protects and restores habitat for important species such as the fisher,” said Richard Gordon, President and CEO of California Forestry Association. “Today, stewardship of habitat is part of the DNA of active forest management and California’s forest landowners.”

Your Voice at the Table: USFWS Gopher Tortoise Species Status Assessment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has invited FLA to engage as an active participant in its Species Status Assessment (SSA) process. The SSA is an analytical approach developed by the Service to help determine whether a species warrants listing under the Endangered Species Act.

During the development of this SSA, FLA is serving as a member of the Gopher Tortoise Habitat Management Expert Team. By participating in the SSA process, FLA is seizing the opportunity for forest landowners’ voices to be heard during the decision-making process determining whether or not to list the gopher tortoise – or to keep it listed in its western range.

The continuing partnership between FLA and the Service demonstrates our growing leadership role as a trusted partner, providing crucial information and guidance through the listing process for forest-dependent species.

FLA Joins Coalition Providing Feedback on Lake States Forest Management Bat Habitat Conservation Plan

The Departments of Natural Resources for Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are currently developing the Lake States Forest Management Bat Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). This effort is in response to the recent decline in four bat species due to the rapid spread of a fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS). Covered species include the northern long-eared bat, tricolor bat, little brown bat, and Indiana bat.

Once the HCP is complete, private forest landowners in these states will be able to apply for a certificate of inclusion providing them with authorization to commit incidental takes of these species resulting from many forest management activities. FLA has joined a coalition of forestry stakeholders to submit comments on the conservation measures that will be required under the HCP.

This Habitat Conservation Plan may serve as a template to provide regulatory certainty for landowners in the Midwest and beyond, as bats continue to decline due to the spread of WNS.

Re-evaluation of Northern Spotted Owl Critical Habitat Designation

An agreement was filed in federal court announcing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) intent to re-evaluate its controversial decision to designate 9.5 million acres of critical habitat for the threatened northern spotted owl in California, Oregon, and Washington.

This agreement would settle a long-standing legal dispute between the Service and a group of forestry stakeholders led by the American Forest Resource Council. Once a judge approves of the agreement, a process will be set in place for the critical habitat re-evaluation, including opportunities for public input and consideration of updated scientific information.

We encourage you to participate in this public comment process as FLA continues the work to reduce the regulatory burdens placed on the forestry community.