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USFWS reopens Red-cockaded Woodpecker proposal

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the comment period on their October 2020 proposal to downlist the Red-cockaded Woodpecker from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The agency has also issued a revised 4(d) rule, clarifying what activities might be allowed that could affect the threatened species. 

When first issued in 2020, the downlisting included a proposal for a 4(d) rule, which provides additional protections for threatened species under the ESA. The 2020 4(d) rule prohibited incidental take of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers from actions that would result in the further habitat loss or degradation, such as activities that would harass red-cockaded woodpeckers during the breeding season and the insecticide use near clusters. According to many comments submitted to the USFWS in response to the original proposal, that 4(d) rule was unclear and causing confusion among stakeholders, landowners, and others. In its new proposal, the agency attempts to clarify what actions fall within the scope of the rule. 

The USFWS will accept additional comments on the proposed revision through March 7. 

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