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Prelisting Conservation Policy

The eastern gopher tortoise is a candidate species in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Credit Randy Browning/USFWS

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service published a Director's Order to provide incentives for landowners to conserve candidate species, which are not listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The policy provides a mechanism for landowners, government agencies, and others to obtain credits for current conservation efforts benefiting declining species. These conservation credits can be redeemed later or sold to a third party to offset or mitigate detrimental actions to a species if it later gains ESA protection. Credits can be earned only before a species becomes listed and only for actions that are not mandated by federal, state, or local law. This policy will help us further our efforts to protect species and their ecosystems to prevent their further decline and ultimately the need to list them under the ESA.

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Last updated: January 18, 2017