In Utah, 22 animals and 24 plants, a total of 46 species, are listed and protected under the Endangered Species Act. Farmers and ranchers face fines and imprisonment for even the most basic farm practices if federal regulators believe such actions disturb endangered species.
Farm Bureau believes that farmers and ranchers can and should be at the forefront of the effort to protect endangered species. Farmers and ranchers own and operate most of the privately owned property that provides habitat to endangered and threatened species. In America, 90 percent of listed plants and animals have some of their habitat on nonfederal lands, with 78 percent occupying privately owned lands. Approximately 34 percent of all listed species occur entirely on nonfederal lands. Cooperation with private landowners is absolutely essential if the goal of species recovery is to be achieved.
A cooperative-based program would replace the existing enforcement of the Endangered Species Act with positive incentives for landowners to manage species or habitat on their land. Landowners would take actions for listed species because they want to, not because they must. Landowners would benefit from reduced regulation and less land-use restrictions.
Federal agencies must engage and consult private landowners from the very beginning. The Endangered Species Act requires that for any action authorized, funded or carried out by a federal agency which is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or adversely affect its critical habitat, the affected federal agency must consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service to ensure that the action does not jeopardize the species or critical habitat.
Utah Farm Bureau has been a leader in bringing together landowners with local, state and federal governments to assist in a voluntary and cooperative approach to species and habitat recovery. Together, landowners, government and agencies are working to protect and conserve Utah’s listed and sensitive species while balancing the need for continuing natural resource use, economic growth, and environmental protection.
Utah Farm Bureau is a member of team approach, whereby each species is considered individually using existing data, available literature, and the collective knowledge of a group of wildlife experts and landowners.
Mark Petersen, Water Quality/Sensitive Species Specialist for the Utah Farm Bureau, working with our partners in Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, UACD, USU Extension and NRCS, has given numerous workshops and worked with many farmers and ranchers in Utah. He continues to give presentations and do on-site consultations. If you have questions about sensitive species, regulations or if you desire a consultation, contact Mark Petersen at: 801-233-3014, 801-450-5981 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact Mark Petersen, Sensitive Species Specialist at 801-233-3014.