Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Hugh Vickery, DOI
For Immediate Release: May 12, 2004
Secretary Norton Expresses Appreciation
for New Efforts by Environmental Defense

(WASHINGTON, DC) - Interior Secretary Gale Norton today sent a letter to Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, expressing appreciation for the organization's efforts to further engage private landowners in the recovery of some threatened and endangered species. She also said she appreciated his interest in the removal of the bald eagle from the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Norton sent the letter in response to earlier correspondence that was sent to President Bush. Krupp sent a copy to Secretary Norton of the letter he had sent to President Bush detailing Environmental Defense's plans regarding the successful recovery of the bald eagle and their Back from the Brink Campaign.

"Because bald eagles have exceeded recovery goals, we are well underway toward delisting this national symbol," Norton wrote. "We are currently developing guidelines describing how bald eagles would be managed and protected in the future, which must be in place prior to a final delisting action. We are committed to celebrating the recovery of the bald eagle by removing it from the list of threatened species."

She also welcomed Environmental Defense's interest in the kind of cooperative partnerships with private landowners that have been a hallmark of the Fish and Wildlife Service's work with endangered species in the Bush Administration. The environmental group has served as a partner in some of Interior's efforts and has been the recipient of grants.

For example, in 2003, the Fish and Wildlife Service awarded Environmental Defense a Private Stewardship Grant to develop and implement a multi-species Safe Harbor Agreement and Candidate Conservation Agreement to restore pine ecosystem habitat in 23 counties across three states. Their other partners in the grant included the American Forest Foundation, the American Bird Conservancy, and the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

"We believe your Back from the Brink campaign can successfully join our combined efforts to promote cooperative conservation strategies," Norton wrote.

The Interior Department has dedicated significantly increased resources to partnerships through programs like the Landowner Incentive Program, Private Stewardship Grants, Partners for Fish and Wildlife and the Coastal Program. These all provide opportunities for landowners to join in restoring habitat and benefiting species.



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