Subject: ESA Listing Policy Change
Date: Fri Jun 27 20:44:38 MDT 2014
Dear EPSC Members,
Today the Administration, through the Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, released a new policy document that finalizes key interpretations of the Endangered Species Act for the phrase “Significant Portions of Its Range” as well as the definitions for “Endangered” and “Threatened” species. The Administration states the purpose of the policy is to provide consistent interpretations for listing decisions. Specifically, the policy applies to situations where a species is not imperiled throughout its entire range but only in vital portions of it. A 2011 draft policy document dealt with trying to define the phrase “significant portion of its range” as “A portion of the range of a species is 'significant' if its contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction."
According to a story in GreenWire, the new the policy document will define the “significance” of a portion of its range “if the species is not currently endangered or threatened throughout all of its range, but the portion's contribution to the viability of the species is so important that, without the members in that portion, the species would be in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range."
Although this occurrence is thought to be rare, the agency went on to acknowledge in the story that when the threshold is met it will give protection "to all individuals of the species wherever found."
The policy will become effective 30 days after its publication in the federal register. To access the new policy document, please click the link below.