Threatened and Endangered Species Highlight

Threatened and endangered species find refuge on military ranges
by Lori Hogan, USAEC Contractor

Endangered species protection and military training land management often overlap as Army installations across the U.S. work collaboratively to ensure quality habitat exists for wildlife in realistic training areas where troops carry out mission-critical readiness exercises.

In 2020, there were approximately 226 species listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act on 13.5 million acres managed by the Army. Today, there are a multitude of success stories where federally protected species are flourishing due to the Army’s conservation efforts and land management practices.

The most well-known species are the bald eagle and the red-cockaded woodpecker. For example, there are six breeding pairs of eagles that nest year-round on Fort Hunter Liggett in California and at Aberdeen Proving Ground the latest count found 201 bald eagles along APG shorelines. Once endangered, the bald eagle populations have now recovered and been delisted under the Endangered Species Act, though still federally protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Many eagles find a home on Army lands. On installations like Fort Polk in Louisiana, Fort Benning in Georgia, and Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the Army has worked to revitalize longleaf pine habitat and build artificial cavities designed to mimic the red-cockaded woodpecker’s natural breeding grounds. The woodpeckers have received a lot of press recently since they have been proposed to be reclassified from endangered to threatened, but many other species also deserve recognition.

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