BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Federal wildlife officials say they have reached a habitat protection agreement with landowners in central Idaho to help the threatened north Idaho ground squirrel.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the deal Tuesday, reached with Hixon Properties, which operates a working ranch in Adams County. The deal covers more than 7,000 acres for 10 years.

The squirrel is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and is currently found only in Adams and Valley counties. Its habitat includes forest meadow-grasslands and ponderosa pine and fir forest.

Under the deal, Hixon Properties has committed to work with the agency to improve habitat, minimize the impact of other land uses and allow research and monitoring.

In return, the landowners get a permit allowing limited incidental taking of the species.

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