At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Public hearing planned for red-cockaded woodpecker

The red-cockaded woodpecker has been listed as an endangered species since 1969. USFWS photo The red-cockaded woodpecker has been listed as an endangered species since 1969. USFWS photo

The red-cockaded woodpecker could be downgraded from an endangered species to a threatened species if a proposal from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is adopted, and a public hearing slated for 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, will give citizens a chance to weigh in. 

The virtual meeting will feature a presentation from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and public comment from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Written comments will be accepted through Monday, Dec. 7. 

The woodpecker was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969, when there were estimated to be fewer than 4,000 clusters of the birds. Today, the FWS estimates there are nearly 7,800 clusters in 11 states ranging from southern Virginia to eastern Texas. A cluster is a group of cavity trees used by one or more woodpeckers. More information is available at https://bit.ly/3lq3uke. 

To attend the meeting and provide oral arguments, follow the instructions at https://bit.ly/3poh4vm. The proposed rule was published on Oct. 8, opening up a 60-day public comment period that ends Dec. 7. Read the rule or offer written comment at https://bit.ly/3ltb4j6.

Receive our FREE SMN Xtra newsletter

Go to top