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Comment Period Extended for Critical Habitat Rules


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An endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) soars over Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in California. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service recently proposed two new rules related to better protecting critical habitat of listed species. (Credit: Kim Valverde, USFWS)

An endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) soars over Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in California. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service recently proposed two new rules related to better protecting critical habitat of listed species. (Credit: Kim Valverde, USFWS)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have extended the comment period for three proposals they announced in May that are designed to make the designation of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act more “efficient, transparent, and legally defensible,” as described in a recent TWS article, Agencies Propose Rules on Critical Habitat Designation.

Comments on the rules can now be submitted through October 9, 2014, a three-month extension from the original deadline. The proposed rules involve an alteration to the definition of “adverse modification” — an alteration to habitat that diminishes its value to the listed species. Federal agencies cannot permit or fund activities that would “adversely modify” or destroy critical habitat. In addition, the process used when designating critical habitat is being clarified and its purpose better defined. Lastly, the proposed policies intend to make the process of excluding certain areas from consideration as critical habitat more predictable and simplified.

Comments must be submitted separately for each proposed rule or policy.

Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal and enter the appropriate Docket Number in the search box:
• FWS-HQ-ES-2012-0096 for regulation changes for designating critical habitat
• FWS-R9-ES-2011-0072 for regulation changes relating to definition of destruction or adverse modification
• FWS-R9-ES-2011-0104 for the proposed policy on critical habitat exclusions

Sources: Greenwire (June 20, 2014), USFWS (accessed June, 2014), Federal Register (June 26, 2014)



This article was automatically imported from The Wildlife Society's policy news feed.

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