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FOR $100,000 ... WHAT'S A SCRUB-JAY?
The Anita Cragg Story


In 1992, Anita Cragg, president of Space Coast Management Services, bought a housing subdivision in Country Cove, Florida with the goal of building new homes next to existing ones. She had the necessary building permits and interested buyers all lined up when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ordered her to stop all development because it allegedly posed a hazard to the Florida scrub-jay, a bird which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

What Cragg didn't understand is how her planned development threatened the scrub-jay when there were no scrub-jay nests on the property. Both the FWS and an independent environmental engineer hired by Cragg could not find any nests on her land. However, when FWS officials were surveying her land in 1993, they saw two scrub-jays fly onto her lots. Because Cragg's property had the potential to be suitable scrub-jay habitat, the agency suspended construction for 18 months.

To get construction resumed, the FWS forced Cragg to purchase four acres of land off-site to compensate for the loss of every acre of potential habitat on her property. That cost her $100,000. Cragg says her deal with the government "didn't really help the scrub-jay because we weren't hurting it in the first place."
Source: Anita Cragg

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