Recent surveys conducted by WDFW confirm that the largest remaining gopher populations inhabit public land around the airports in Olympia and Shelton, and at JBLM in Pierce County.
To protect these and other key populations, the draft plan supports a combination of existing local land-use regulations, habitat restoration and educational programs designed to increase public understanding and acceptance of pocket gophers.
Gardner said all three counties included in the draft recovery plan provide protection for pocket gophers through their critical area ordinances. In addition, WDFW has been working with a variety of partners – including the two airports and JBLM – to maintain or restore essential gopher habitat.
“In many ways, the draft recovery plan reflects the management initiatives that have been in place since pocket gophers were listed for protection by the state in 2006,” he said. “This plan is really designed to provide more focus for those efforts.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public comments through Feb. 11 on its proposal to list the Mazama pocket gopher as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Information on the proposed federal listing is available at http://is.gd/bPdeSP .