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Endangered Species Act Overview

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Presentation on theme: "Endangered Species Act Overview"— Presentation transcript:

1 Endangered Species Act Overview

2 USFWS Mission Statement
Our mission, working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people

3 The Endangered Species Act
Passed in 1973 Purpose: To provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend may be conserved, and to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered and threatened species.

4 California Condor Passenger Pigeon Instructor Notes:
Our country’s environmental consciousness evolved too late for some species, e.g., the passenger pigeon (“flocks so thick they darkened the sky”), which went extinct before we gave much thought to the results of our actions on the species with which we share the planet. The passenger pigeon once constituted approximately 25 to 40% of the total bird population of the United States. Their numbers may have reached 3 billion to 5 billion passenger pigeons at the time Europeans discovered America. An observer described a flight as being about a mile in width and taking several hours to pass overhead. Yet by the early 1900s no wild passenger pigeons could be found. Martha, the LAST passenger pigeon died in captivity in 1914 (1:00 pm, September 1st). By the 1960s it was clear that other species were going the way of the passenger pigeon, and it became a national priority to do something about it. The condor had declined to just a few dozen birds when the species was listed - coming dangerously close to becoming a modern equivalent of the passenger pigeon. Passenger Pigeon

5 Sections of the ESA Section 4: Listing, critical habitat, and recovery plans Section 5: Land acquisition Section 6: Assistance to States and Territories Section 7: Interagency Cooperation Section 8: International Cooperation Section 9: Prohibited Acts Section 10: Exceptions Section 11: Penalties and Enforcement

6 Section 4 Sets requirements and standards for listing
Defines endangered vs. threatened Provisions for emergency listing Provides for citizen petitions Mandates development of recovery plans Requires designation of critical habitat Designation of candidate species

7 What can we list? Species Subspecies
Distinct Population Segments of vertebrates

8 What is a DPS? Added in 1978 amendments but no definition provided
To be used “sparingly” Only applies to vertebrates Must fulfill three criteria: Discrete Significant Meets definition of T or E

9 What is a Candidate Species?
Plants and animals for which we have sufficient information on biological status and threats to propose as endangered or threatened under the Act but development of a proposed listing regulation is precluded by higher priority listing activities.

10 Petitions Individuals or groups can petition us to list or delist a species or designate/amend CH We respond via: A 90-day finding determining if the petition contains substantial information that the petitioned act MAY BE warranted; If yes, then we: Conduct a 12-month finding to determine whether the petitioned action IS warranted Outcomes: 1) list the species; 2) find not warranted; 3) find warranted but precluded by higher priority actions

11 Section 4 Listing Process
5-factor analysis Habitat destruction or modification Overutilization Disease or Predation Inadequate regulatory mechanisms Other factors Regulatory process based solely on biology, not economics Requirements for public comment and peer review

12 Critical Habitat Habitat essential to the conservation of a listed species that may require special management Can include Federal, State, Tribal or private lands Areas can be excluded if benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion Critical habitat protections apply only to Federal lands or actions

13 Special Rules 4(d) Rules
Can tailor the ESA prohibitions for threatened Must provide for the conservation of the species Provides substantial flexibility to only regulate what is needed to recover the species

14 Recovery: goal of ESA The process by which the decline of an endangered or threatened species is arrested or reversed, and threats to the survival are negated, so that its long-term survival in nature can be assured.

15 Recovery Plans: Blueprints for Recovery
Guides recovery actions for a listed species Assist in determining when a project would jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species Assist local planning agencies Identify priority research Inform the public Partnerships are key: can form recovery teams that include scientists, other agencies, private landowners

16 Section 6: Grants to States and Territories
Traditional For surveys, monitoring, or recovery actions Funded at $10.5 million nationwide in FY14 Non-traditional Recovery Land Acquisition (FY14 = $9.5 million) Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance ($7.4 M) HCP Land Acquisition ($18 M)

17 Section 7(a)(1) All Federal agencies shall use their authorities in the furtherance of the purposes of this Act by carrying out programs for the conservation of endangered and threatened species.

18 Section 7(a)(2) Each Federal agency must, in consultation with the Service, ensure that any action funded, authorized, of carried out by the agency is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.

19 The Consultation Process
Federal agency considers the effects of its action on listed species Coordinates with FWS, if an effect is likely Not likely to adversely affect = informal consultation Likely to adversely affect = formal consultation Purpose of formal consultation: to determine if jeopardy and/or adverse modification are likely

20 Section 9 Prohibits “take” of listed animals
Take is defined as to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.

21 Plant Prohibitions Section 9 prohibitions for plants:
remove and reduce to possession from areas under Federal jurisdiction; maliciously damage or destroy on any such lands remove, cut, dig up, or damage or destroy on any other area in knowing violation of any law or regulation of any state or in the course of any violation of a state criminal trespass law.

22 Section 10 Exceptions A way to authorize activities otherwise prohibited under Section 9 of the Act 10(a)(1)(A) For beneficial actions or research 10(a)(1)(B) – incidental take permits (HCP) 10(j) – experimental populations CCAAs have been covered as part of candidate conservation Safe Harbor Agreements and 10(j) are covered in more detail under recovery section Just remind people here that these all involve permits issued under section 10

23 Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances
Formal, voluntary agreements between the FWS and landowners to address the conservation needs of candidate species or species likely to become candidates Participants receive assurances that they will not be required to implement additional conservation measures beyond those in the CCAA

24 Safe Harbor Agreements
Voluntary agreements involving private or other non-Federal property owners whose actions contribute to the recovery of listed species In exchange for conservation efforts, participants receive formal assurances that we will not require additional management activities At the end of the agreement period, participants may return the enrolled property to the baseline conditions that existed at the beginning of the SHA.

25 What is an HCP? Section 10 of the Act provides exceptions to section 9 prohibitions including the issue of permits to take listed animals incidental to otherwise legal activity. Incidental take permit - permit that exempts a project proponent from the take prohibition of section 9. Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) - planning document that is a mandatory component of an incidental take permit application.

26 10(j) Rules For reintroductions of listed species
Can be given “non-essential, experimental” Take prohibitions can be tailored to only what is necessary to conserve

27 Exercising ESA Flexibility: Tools for Private Lands
Working lands for wildlife (NRCS), CCAAs, SHAs 4(d) Rules: Dakota skipper, lesser prairie chicken 10(j): Wyoming BFF Critical habitat exclusions: Dakota skipper, poweshiek skipperling

28 What Makes a Successful Conservation Effort?
Addresses all threats on a large enough scope to affect the listing determination Track record of success Methods have proven effective (Coral Pink, Least Chub, Arctic Grayling) Additional populations established (chub, grayling) Voluntary efforts show sufficient participation (Sand Dunes Lizard)

29 Conservation efforts influence decisions
Can be used to avoid listing (Sand Dunes Lizard) Can be the difference between T vs E Can provide basis for a 4(d) rule for relaxed/streamlined regulation (LPC)


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