Wildlife Commission Unveils Safe Harbor Program and Red-cockaded Woodpecker

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission recently launched two webpages dedicated to the Safe Harbor Program and red-cockaded woodpeckers, also known as RCWs.

The Safe Harbor Program web page(www.ncwildlife.org/rcwsafeharbor) provides an overview and outlines the benefits of the voluntary program, which was created in 2006 to encourage private landowners to undertake voluntary land conservation measures that benefit RCWs. The page explains in greater detail the process of enrolling private land into a Safe Harbor Agreement and also provides information on the various land-management activities that can be done to make properties more suitable for RCWs and other wildlife species while protecting landowners from any additional encumbrances of having a listed species on their property.

The Red-cockaded Woodpecker web page provides a wealth of information on the federally endangered bird, including its life history, habitat requirements and status and distribution in North Carolina. A 5-minute video on RCWs highlights a nesting colony and explains how the Safe Harbor Program is benefiting RCWs and other priority species that are identified in the N.C. Wildlife Action Plan.

“We created these two web pages to increase awareness of RCWs and the critical need to protect what remains of their habitat in North Carolina,” said John Carpenter, a wildlife diversity biologist with the Commission. “At the same time we want to provide as much information as possible to landowners so that they understand more clearly the multiple benefits of enrolling in the Safe Harbor Program, not only to RCWs and other wildlife, but to their properties as well.

Since the program began seven years ago, the Wildlife Commission has had eight properties totaling more than 19,000 acres enroll in the program.

“We’re hoping that this new information will help us increase landowner participation,” Carpenter said.

News release produced by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.