Washington,
29
March
2018
|
07:25 PM
America/New_York

How to Improve Conservation of Wildlife and Habitat in the Farm Bill

Summary

WASHINGTON (March 29, 2018) – Defenders of Wildlife’s recommendations on the 2018 farm bill focus on strengthening the administration, implementation and accountability of conservation programs in the legislation, while also benefiting landowners working to achieve conservation goals. The recommendations also underscore that the farm bill must be free of provisions that undermine bedrock environmental laws, such as exemptions from the Endangered Species Act for the registration and application of potentially harmful pesticides and any weakening of forest management safeguards.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

How to Improve Conservation of Wildlife and Habitat in the Farm Bill

WASHINGTON (March 29, 2018) – Defenders of Wildlife’s recommendations on the 2018 farm bill focus on strengthening the administration, implementation and accountability of conservation programs in the legislation, while also benefiting landowners working to achieve conservation goals. The recommendations also underscore that the farm bill must be free of provisions that undermine bedrock environmental laws, such as exemptions from the Endangered Species Act for the registration and application of potentially harmful pesticides and any weakening of forest management safeguards.

Defenders of Wildlife Vice President, Mark Salvo, issued the following statement:

“The farm bill should be an opportunity to conserve native fish, wildlife, plants and their habitat on private lands nationwide, including federally protected species. It should not be an opportunity to undermine popular environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act.

“An astounding array of flora and fauna, like sage grouse, monarch butterflies and migratory birds, benefit from this essential legislation. Defenders' recommendations would ensure that the farm bill programs support long-term conservation and resiliency of habitat against climate change and other threats, and that landowners undertake a basic level of soil and wetland conservation on vulnerable lands in exchange for federal crop insurance subsidies.”

Defenders top five recommendations for the farm bill include:

  • Prioritizing conservation of at-risk species in appropriate farm bill programs, including federally listed species and “Species of Greatest Conservation Need” identified in State Wildlife Action Plans.
  • Supporting wildlife coexistence in working lands programs to conserve and recover apex predators such as wolves, bears and Florida panthers.
  • Ensuring that federal agencies assess and evaluate farm bill conservation programs for wildlife outcomes.
  • Maintaining or increasing support for Conservation Technical Assistance to improve efficiency and effectiveness of conservation program administration and implementation.
  • Encouraging federal agencies to prioritize habitat connectivity in implementing farm bill conservation programs.

Background

  • Defenders of Wildlife’s farm bill priority recommendations are available here; our complete recommendations are posted here.
  • The farm bill is the marquee legislative responsibility of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and the House Committee on Agriculture. Farm bills are enacted about every five years. The current 2014 farm bill is set to expire on September 30, 2018.
  • Two-thirds of the land in the lower 48 is privately owned, and more than 40 percent of that is managed for agriculture. Approximately half of federally listed species have at least 80 percent of their habitat on private lands. Conservation of these lands is essential to their recovery.

 

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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.