The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) is proposing to list the alligator snapping turtle as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act with a Section 4(d) rule to tailor “take” prohibitions. This proposal is one of many recently proposed species listings that provide exceptions in the 4(d) rule for forest management activities such as construction, maintenance, pesticide and herbicide use, and other silviculture practices that implement state-approved best management practices (BMPs).
FLA submitted comments on January 10, 2022, commending the Service for providing exceptions for BMPs within the proposed rule. By acknowledging the importance and effectiveness of state-approved BMPs, the Service can implement a scientifically sound conservation plan for the alligator snapping turtle that not only protects the species but recognizes the good stewardship of private landowners and their working forests. FLA encourages the Service to continue this trend with future listings to highlight the capability of BMPs to protect water quality and habitat for aquatic species.
The alligator snapping turtle can be found across the Southeast and the BMP compliance rate within its range averages over 90 percent. There is currently no critical habitat designation associated with this listing.
Read FLA’s official comments here.