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The only hope for successful conservation of America's threatened, endangered, and at-risk wildlife is through voluntary, cooperative partnerships that focus on private land, where over 75% of at-risk species can be found. Private landowners form the bedrock of these partnerships, and they have a long history of rising to meet the challenge of conservation. But they can't do it alone.
This book is a guide for private landowners who want to conserve wildlife. Whether engaged in farming, ranching, forestry, mining, energy development, or another business, private working lands all have value as wildlife habitat, with the proper management and financial support. Saving Species on Private Lands provides landowners and their partners with a roadmap to achieve conservation compatible with their financial and personal goals.
This book introduces the art and language of land management planning as well as regulatory compliance with laws such as the Endangered Species Act of 1973. It categorizes and explains the tools used by wildlife professionals to implement conservation on private lands. Moreover it documents the multitude of federal, state, local, and private opportunities for landowners to find financial and technical assistance in managing wildlife, from working with a local NGO to accessing the $6 billion per year available through the federal Farm Bill.
List of Illustrations
Guide to Acronyms and Terms
Introduction and Chapter Summaries
Part I: Introduction to Proactive Wildlife Conservation on Private Land
Chapter 1: Private Land and the Endangered Species Act
Chapter 2: Case Studies
Chapter 3: Getting Started with Conservation
Part II: Conservation Tools and Your Business
Chapter 4: Common Mechanisms for Enrolling Land in Conservation Programs
Chapter 5: Working with Regulated Entities and Investors
Part III: Incentives for Private Land Conservation: The Farm Bill
Chapter 6: Introduction to the Farm Bill
Chapter 7: Farm Bill Incentives and Rental Contracts
Chapter 8: Farm Bill Easements
Chapter 9: Partnership Programs Under the Farm Bill
Part IV: Non-Farm Bill Incentives for Private Land Conservation
Chapter 10: Other Federal Resources for Conservation
Chapter 11: Non-Federal Resources for Conservation
Part V: Achieving Regulatory Certainty Under the Endangered Species Act for Management of Species that are Listed or May Become Listed
Chapter 12: Understanding a Landowners’ Liability Under the Endangered Species Act
Chapter 13: Tools for Private Landowners to Navigate the Endangered Species Act
Appendix A: Contacts for Landowners
Appendix B: Annual Impacts of Farm Bill Programs
About the Author
Lowell E. Baier is an attorney and a legal and environmental historian and author. Baier holds a B.A. from Valparaiso University, a J.D. from Indiana University and has received two honorary doctorates. He’s worked in Washington, D.C. throughout his 50-year career as a tireless advocate for natural resources and wildlife conservation. Throughout his career, he has observed and documented wildlife and its habitats on extensive treks and expeditions in the mountains and wilderness regions across the North American Continent, the Pamirs and Caucasus of Russia, and Mongolia’s Gobi Desert and Altai Mountains, providing him with first-hand observations of wildlife and man’s interactions across the globe. He was recognized as the Conservationist of the Year by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 2008, and again in 2010 and 2013 by two different national organizations.
"This straightforward handbook will rally the ecological power of private landowners. By clarifying multiple confusing laws, amendments, and regulations, it spreads a map for landowners and advocates to travel together."
– Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of Interior (2006-2009); Governor of Idaho (1999-2006); U.S. Senator (1993-1999)
"Saving Species on Private Lands is a timely and valuable resource for landowners willing to engage in the greatest conservation effort of all time. Lowell Baier demystifies voluntary conservation and helps landowners use proven tools to make smart decisions leading to real conservation. His vision of the natural harmony that can exist between people and wildlife on working lands will inspire and empower the rising generation of conservation leaders."
– Dave Tenny, President & CEO, National Alliance of Forest Owners
"Private land and landowners are critical to healthy wildlife populations. Partnerships between landowners and other wildlife conservationists are key to conserving declining wildlife species, and necessary to ensure working landscapes remain productive for human communities as well. This book explains programs and approaches to partnership-driven voluntary conservation on private lands and is a valuable resource for landowners and others who want to learn more about wildlife conservation opportunities on private land."
– Steve Jester, Executive Director, Partners for Conservation
"Private landowners play a critical role for species and habitat conservation. Saving Species on Private Lands documents decades of work with the private sector and illustrates how wildlife conservation can integrate with operations – from forestry and energy development to farming and ranching – on private lands."
– Edward B. Arnett, Chief Scientist, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
"Saving Species on Private Lands is a very important book for conservation in America for the twenty-first century. For over 45 years, since its passage by Congress in 1973, the Endangered Species Act has been primarily the province of federal and state wildlife agencies for implementation of conservation strategies. As a result not much progress has been made on species recovery. This is not surprising since 80% of endangered species habitat nationwide is on private lands ,and public agencies have largely ignored private land owners for decades. Progress on species recovery will only be made by encouraging the stewardship by private land owners on a scalable basis. This core constituency of 13 million Americans is the key to species recovery in America. Saving Species on Private Lands is a major contribution to breaking through this barrier to engage and encourage private land owners to participate in species recovery. I encourage any landowner hosting endangered species or having species in their vicinity of their properties to read this important book. It will advance the conservation cause in America more than any and all environmental advocacies."
– Amos S. Eno, President and Founder, Land Conservation Assistance Network, Executive Director, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (1991-1999)
"Saving Species on Private Lands takes on the complex issues of how landowners can conserve wildlife, access public and private support for doing so, and avoid regulation under the Endangered Species Act. This practical, well organized book is a valuable resource for landowners, partner organizations, government officials, students, and policymakers alike."
– Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture (2009-2017)
"Home builders and developers face daunting Endangered Species Act rules and regulations. Lowell Baier's book demystifies the ESA and provides a well-structured guide for private landowners who want to enjoy their property rights while making a difference through wildlife conservation."
– Greg Ugalde, 2019 Chairman of the Board, National Association of Home Builders
"This book takes on the complex issues of how landowners can conserve wildlife, access public and private support for doing so, and avoid regulation under the Endangered Species Act. This practical, well organized book is a valuable resource for landowners, partner organizations, government officials, students, and policymakers alike."
– Timothy C. Brady, President, Boone and Crockett Club
"This book demystified the Endangered Species Act, explains how it affects private land, and provides landowners with the knowledge they need to navigate it and thrive."
– Frank H. Murkowski, Governor of Alaska (2002-2006); U.S. Senator (1980-2002)
"Ranchers are perhaps our most important resource for the conservation of wildlife. Saving Species on Private Lands arms these conservationists with critical information to aid them in securing the technical assistance, regulatory assurances, and financial incentives necessary to navigate the Endangered Species Act. These tools can help ranchers continue to provide the large unbroken landscapes needed for healthy wildlife populations."
– Ethan L. Lane, Vice President, Government Affairs; National Cattlemen's Beef Association; Executive Director, Public Lands Council (2015-2019)
"Today, a new conservation paradigm is sweeping across America. Federal, state, local government agencies, foundations, non-profits, and willing landowners are joining together to find win-win solutions that keep working lands productive and American workers employed while conserving more of our habitat and wildlife than ever before. This book explains how and why they work, and how they can be put to work by landowners across the nation. I recommend this as a must read for private landowners desiring to successfully navigate the ESA!"
– George Emmerson, President, Sierra Pacific Industries
"Wildlife conservation in America is at a crossroads. Will we continue to lose wildlife, or will we roll up our sleeves and work together to save it? In this powerful book, Lowell Baier explains how private landowners can secure a portfolio of incentives to conserve wildlife on their property, while navigating the ESA and related laws and regulations."
– Marc C. Mondavi, Co-Proprieter, C. Mondavi & Family/Charles Krug Winery
"This book is an important resource to those who want to protect birds and the places they need while also managing their land without sacrificing profits. Ranchers, farmers, and even people who just have a large piece of property will find something in here, like how to tap into government incentives, find conservation partners, or navigate compliance with federal laws like the Endangered Species Act. A great new tool for all landowners."
– David O'Neill, Chief Conservation Officer, National Audubon Society
"Private lands hold the key to the future of wildlife conservation, with two thirds of all threatened and endangered species living on privately owned lands. This book shows that private landowners are true champions of wildlife conservation and provides much needed information to help them understand the ESA and better engage in effective species conservation work on the ground. This book fills a tremendous need for private landowners."
– Nick Wiley, Chief Operating Officer, Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
"America's private lands represent the future for wildlife conservation. Healthy agricultural landscapes conserve wildlife by focusing on habitats they depend upon while benefitting all of society through environmental services. Saving Species on Private Lands: Unlocking Incentives to Conserve Wildlife and Their Habitats will serve as a keystone resource for farmers, ranchers, and all landowners interested in wildlife conservation, at-risk and endangered species, and healthy sustainable landscapes for future generations."
– Howard K. Vincent, President and CEO, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
"Aldo Leopold wrote, in the 1930 American Game Policy, that we must recognize the landowner as the custodian of wildlife, and that only the landowner can practice management efficiently. Yet, in spite of broad acceptance of this principle, there has not been a comprehensive guide as to how landowners can become wildlife stewards and use their lands for personal enjoyment and profit at the same time. The need for such guidance has become critical, with expanding legions of at-risk wildlife species, most of which are on private lands. Lowell Baier, one of the most respected conservationists in the Nation, has stepped forward once again to take a pressing issue head-on. He has produced a remarkable book that should be read by all in the conservation institution, from academics to wildlife managers, industrialists to the small landholder. This splendidly written, exhaustively referenced work, is the most thorough and clear treatment of the 1973 Endangered Species Act as it relates to private lands I have read, and his comprehensive guidance on programs and tools available to landowners should contribute most significantly in efforts to incentivize private lands conservation."
– John F. Organ, Chief Emeritus, U.S. Geological Survey; Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units; Former Chief, Northeast Region USFWS Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program; Past President, Fellow, and Honorary Member, The Wildlife Society; Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
"County governments have partnered with federal and state agencies, tribal governments, non-profits and private landowners to pursue innovative solutions for species conservation, leading to improved outcomes on the ground. Voluntary conservation efforts create buy-in from all impacted parties, more effectively establishing the Endangered Species Act within communities. In Saving Species on Private Lands: Unlocking Incentives to Conserve Wildlife and Their Habitats, Lowell Baier uses real world examples of voluntary conservation programs that benefit species and landscapes without jeopardizing landowners' needs. This book serves as an important guide for better implementation of the Endangered Species Act."
– Jonathan Shuffield, Associate Legislative Director, National Association of Counties
"In Saving Species on Private Lands, Lowell Baier provides a roadmap for voluntary conservation by private landowners to help endangered, threatened, and at-risk species. This book explains how existing financial and regulatory incentives for landowners can make a difference – for the good of both people and the environment."
– Marc A. Brinkmeyer, Chairman of the Board, Idaho Forest Group
"At a time when more than one-third of all U.S. species are at heightened risk of extinction, incentivizing habitat restoration on private lands has never been more important. That's easy to say, but incredibly hard to do. Thankfully, Lowell Baier has charted a clear path forward that will unleash the collaborative conservation desperately needed to recover the full diversity of fish, wildlife, and plants for future generations."
– Collin O'Mara, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation; Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control for Delaware (2009-2014)
"As we look to the future of wildlife conservation, we must build on the success that we have seen from collaboration, and engage private landowners as full partners. Saving Species on Private Lands: Unlocking Incentives to Conserve Wildlife and Their Habitats is a comprehensive book that will help landowners understand the resources available to them to promote wildlife conservation on private land. This is an excellent resource to shape a new paradigm in wildlife conservation."
– Rebecca Humphries, Chief Executive Officer, National Wild Turkey Federation