PWTB 200-1-79 Benefits of a Candidate Conservation Agreement for the Gopher Tortoise and Lessons Learned  


The purpose of this Public Works Technical Bulletin (PWTB) is to transmit the experiences from 2005–2009 of the Army in the development and implementation of a Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) for the eastern population of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). The western population was listed as a threatened or endangered species (TES) by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 1987 (USFWS 1987). Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs) are voluntary conservation agreements between USFWS and one or more public or private parties. USFWS works with its partners to identify threats to candidate species and to plan the measures needed to address the threats and conserve these species. It also identifies willing landowners, develops agreements, and designs and implements conservation measures to monitor their effectiveness. These actions support the concept of proactive management for species at risk (SAR) as a region-wide, interagency need as opposed to management entirely within one’s own fenceline. The initial effort made with the gopher tortoise CCA provides a learning experience for future decision making regarding the management of species at risk that could affect mission requirements. The lessons learned from this effort will assist future efforts to develop CCAs.