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USFWS asks public now to expand incentives for voluntary conservation of endangered species

Fern Davies

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Submit comments as follows:



Deadline - comments must bereceived or postmarked on or before

May 14, 2012.


ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Enter Keyword or ID box, enter FWS-R9-ES-

2011-0099, which is the docket number for this notice. You may submit a

comment by clicking on ``Submit a Comment.''

By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public

Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R9-ES-2011-0099; Division of Policy and

Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax

Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

We will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any

personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments below for

more details).



Communications and Candidate Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203

(telephone 703-358-2171). If you use a telecommunications device for

the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at




Full notice attached; relevant excerpts here:



We request suggestions and input from the public on how best to

establish clear mechanisms to encourage landowners and other

potentially regulated interests to fund or carry out voluntary

conservation actions beneficial to candidate and other at-risk species

by providing assurances that, in the event the species is listed, the

benefits of appropriate voluntary conservation actions will be

recognized as offsetting the adverse effects of activities carried out

after listing by that landowner or others. In addition to the requests

above, we specifically request input from the public on the following



(1) How can the Service allow for the recognition of

conservation credits for voluntary action taken in advance of

listing in a manner that is efficient, readily understood, and

faster? How can this be accomplished in an expeditious manner?

(2) Should credits recognized for voluntary conservation actions

taken prior to listing be available for use solely by the person who

created them or should they be transferable to third parties?

(3) If voluntary conservation actions undertaken prior to

listing generate conservation credits that can be used to offset

impacts of post-listing activities, should they be based solely on

the beneficial actions of the person undertaking them, or should

they be based on the net impacts of both beneficial and detrimental


(5) What role should the States play in recognizing and

overseeing the development of credits from voluntary conservation

actions taken for species not yet listed?

(6) How can or should the Service specify in advance of listing

the manner in which it will quantify the value of voluntarily

undertaken conservation actions?

(7) How the Service's conservation banking policy could be

revised to allow for the use of conservation credits accrued from

voluntary actions taken prior to listing?

(8) What changes, if any, are needed to the following

regulations, policies and guidance (The handbooks and policy are

available at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/index.html.)

to clarify mechanisms by which the Service can give ``credit'' for

beneficial actions for unlisted species:

a. 50 CFR part 13

b. 50 CFR part 17

c. 50 CFR part 402

d. The Service's section 7 Handbook

e. The Service's HCP Handbook

f. The Service's Conservation Banking Policy

(9) How could the Service use pilot projects to demonstrate that

the ESA can provide landowners with credits and regulatory

assurances for actions intended to benefit candidate species? Are

there existing situations where such pilot projects could facilitate

conservation for candidate species?

(10) How can a landowner use such voluntary ``prelisting

mitigation'' activities to satisfy requirements arising from any

future section 7 consultation (such as ``conservation measures,''

``reasonable and prudent measure'' or ``reasonable and prudent



In considering these and other potential changes to the ESA's

implementing regulations, we intend to be guided by the following


To improve the effectiveness of the ESA at conserving

endangered, threatened, and candidate species;

To eliminate unnecessary process requirements and to make

as efficient as possible the remaining process requirements;

To improve the clarity of, and eliminate the

inconsistencies among, our regulations;

To engage the States, conservation organizations, and

private landowners more effectively as conservation partners;

To encourage greater experimentation and creativity in the

implementation of the Act; and

To reduce the frequency and intensity of conflicts as much

as possible.

Accordingly, we invite recommendations for changes to our

regulations or policy that would further these objectives.

ESA-Voluntary conservation.pdf

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