Safe Harbor Agreements
This article provides an overview of Safe Harbor Agreements (SHAs) as voluntary mechanisms for the conservation of wetlands in private lands, along with their advantages and disadvantages, and examples of similar (albeit non-identical) agreements around the world. SHAs are voluntary agreements between private landowners and US conservation government agencies in which landowners commit to undertake measures to restore, maintain, preserve, or enhance habitat, including wetlands, for species protected (or listed) under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). In exchange, they are provided regulatory relief from land use restrictions. While SHAs take place in the context of a statutory framework, they are non-traditional tools for the conservation of protected species, in that the incentive they provide is regulatory relief.
KeywordsSafe Harbor Agreements Wetlands conservation tools Endangered Species Act Voluntary conservation assurances Stewardship agreements U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biodiversity conservation tools Habitat conservation Regulatory relief
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