DNR Agreements Protect Species and Pipeline

The Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division recently announced a collaborative effort to help protect the Georgia Aster, a flowering plant that is a candidate for listing under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Division is entering a Candidate Conservation Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, several Georgia agencies, agencies from North Carolina, and many other groups to help keep the Georgia Aster off the Endangered Species list.  These agreements serve as a vehicle through which the Fish and Wildlife Service can engage with public and private entities on a voluntary basis to proactively conserve a species before the species must be listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA.  Protecting species in this manner can help governments and landowners avoid having to comply with strict regulations that follow listing.

At the DNR’s April 22nd board meeting, Mark Whitney, Assistant Director of the Wildlife Resources Division, noted the Division’s attempt conserve not only the Georgia Aster but also the gopher tortoise through Candidate Conservation Agreements.

Perhaps coincidentally, a new natural gas pipeline is planned to be constructed through gopher tortoise habitat in South Georgia.  ESA listing could prove inconvenient.

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