Southeastern Hellbender Conservation Initiative
I was at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies this week to give a presentation on how to utilize Farm Bill programs to advance conservation for imperiled species on private agricultural lands. It seems to be a time of increasing interest on the part of imperiled species managers in accessing farm bill programs for conservation, so I fielded some good questions from a very interested audience. Defenders is spearheading the Southeastern Hellbender Conservation Initiative in partnership with dozens of other federal, state, NGO and private organizations. Through this effort we are working to bring Farm Bill dollars to key watersheds where we can restore healthy habitat for hellbender salamanders on working farms. This once abundant species is in severe decline across almost all of its range, and partnering with farmers whose lands historically provided habitat is essential to recovery.