ALAMOSA — Federal wildlife officials and local water and government officials finalized a plan Wednesday to protect a pair of rare birds, while allowing local farmers and ranchers to avoid more stringent provisions in the Endangered Species Act.
The San Luis Valley Regional Habitat Conservation Plan protects the southwestern willow flycatcher, which is listed as endangered by the federal government, and the yellow-billed cuckoo, a candidate for federal listing.
"We're happy to see our conservation partners in the San Luis Valley develop this plan that will allow people to sustain their rich tradition of working the fertile landscape of the valley while simultaneously contributing to the conservation of fish and wildlife in their own back yards," Noreen Walsh, an acting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director, said in a news release.
The flycatcher summers in the valley, establishing nests in the willows and smaller cottonwoods near wetlands and slow-moving or standing bodies of water.