Knowledgeable neighbors

Safe Harbor Agreement would improve habitats of seven riparian species

Fish and wildlife entities recently drafted an agreement that would protect landowners along the Sacramento River who help imperiled species, according to a federal press release.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game and the Sacramento River Conservation Area Forum have drafted a “Safe Harbor Agreement” that would give landowners along the river a chance to gain legal protection from violating the Endangered Species Act while trying to improve native habitat.

If the voluntary pact is confirmed, landowners who conduct ranching and farming operations along the waterway could aid seven species through activities such as removing invasive species, maintaining good tree cover and avoiding essential habitats during breeding. The agreement would cover 222 miles of the Sacramento River downstream from Keswick Dam near Redding.

Voluntary partnerships between farmers and ranchers who understand the Sacramento River’s riparian species and their habitats are a prime way to help at-risk species, according to Susan K. Moore, field supervisor in the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office.