Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2019

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Protection plan for rare bird released

The final recovery plan for the Southwestern willow flycatcher, a rare bird that breeds in Southern Nevada, was released Wednesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The recovery plan is a blueprint for restoring the endangered bird's habitat in marshlands and wetlands in seven states, said Jeff Humphrey of the Fish and Wildlife Service. In Southern Nevada the flycatcher has been spotted in Las Vegas Wash.

The plan calls for restoration of stream flows, causing floods in some years, protecting the bird's habitat from grazing by cows, wild burros or native grazers and controlling exotic plants such as tamarisk, also known as salt cedar.

The recommendations came out of "a novel planning process," Humphrey said.

The Fish and and Wildlife Service took each topic such as exotic plants or grazing, wrote a paper describing what should be done, then put it out for comment, Humphrey said.

The Fish and Wildlife Service developed the plan with 14 expert scientists and a 200-member review team that included interested parties who made comments.

"Everybody from ranchers to dam operators to environmental groups commented," Humphrey said. The final plan was crafted from those comments, he said.

The Southwestern willow flycatcher builds its nests and raises its young in seven states, including Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas, southwestern Colorado, California, Nevada and Utah.

"Because the Southwestern willow flycatcher lays its eggs and raises its young here in the United States, good habitat is essential if the bird is to successfully reproduce and increase its numbers," said Dale Hall, director of the service's Southwest region.

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