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E-M:/ Piping Plovers and South Fox Island

Enviro-Mich message from "Upton, Brian" <BUPTON@mail.gtbindians.com>

Here is the latest State News story on South Fox Island.  One correction:
the article states that the USFWS had determined that 47 acres on the Island
should be considered critical habitat for piping plover.  Actually, the 47
acres is only what is proposed by the DNR for the conservation easement.
The USFWS has listed as critical habitat for plover much more land on the
Island than the 47 acres which is proposed for conservation easement.  The
bottom line is that the proposed conservation easement would not protect all
of the critical habitat that would be given to the private land-owner under
the DNR's proposed exchange, so the people of Michigan (with federal
approval) would be allowing publicly-owned critical habitat to be
transferred to private ownership with NO guarantees of protection.  While
this would be questionable under normal circumstances, it is especially
curious given this private land-owner's long history of illegally running
ATV's on that same plover habitat (as recently as last fall).  If anyone
knows of any precedent for federal approval of this type of action, I'd like
to hear about it.


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