As the country celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, Sandhills residents have the chance to see how well the act has worked in person. The North Carolina Sandhills Conservation Partnership invites people to visit Weymouth Woods - Sandhills Nature Preserve on Friday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to see and learn about red-cockaded woodpeckers, which have recovered locally thanks to the Endangered Species Act and the efforts of the North Carolina Sandhills Conservation Partnership.
In 1990, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) issued a ruling requiring the Army at Fort Bragg to recover the local population of the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. To accomplish this recovery the Army joined forces with the USFWS and other government and non-government organizations to form the North Carolina Sandhills Conservation Partnership. These efforts proved successful when the USFWS declared the local red-cockaded woodpecker population recovered in 2006, five years earlier than anticipated. Recovery was accomplished by protecting and restoring longleaf pine forest near Fort Bragg. Red-cockaded woodpeckers make their homes in mature longleaf pine.
“The Endangered Species Act has paid off for the red-cockaded woodpeckers and it was also impetus for conservation that has resulted in a new state park and additional state game lands,” said Susan Miller, Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the USFWS. “We’ve protected 16 miles of Fort Bragg boundary, which has allowed the military to continue its vital national security mission.”
The public is invited to come see red-cockaded woodpeckers in their natural habitat. Naturalists and displays will also be at the event to help people learn more about red-cockaded woodpeckers and the Endangered Species Act. Weymouth Woods – Sandhills Nature Preserve is located at 1024 Ft. Bragg Road, Southern Pines.
The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, a year after President Richard Nixon called on Congress to pass comprehensive endangered species legislation. The Act works to protect and recover endangered species and the habitats on which they depend. The USFWS administers the portion of the program that deals with species found on land and in freshwater. The National Marine Fisheries Service administers the portion that deals with species found in the ocean.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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