Significant Portion of Its Range
This policy clarifies that the Services can list a species if it is endangered or threatened in a "significant portion of its range," even if that species is not endangered or threatened throughout all of its range. Under the policy, a portion of the range of a species is defined as "significant" 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.
Until the policy goes into effect on July 31, 2014, the Services have an obligation to meet statutory timeframes and make determinations in response to petitions to list, reclassify, and delist species. During this interim period, the Services will consider the interpretations and principles in this final policy as nonbinding guidance in making individual listing determinations. As nonbinding guidance, the Services will apply these interpretations and principles only as the circumstances warrant, and the agencies will independently explain and justify any decision made in this interim period in light of the circumstances of the species under consideration. In preparing this final policy, the Services considered all comments and information received during the comment period on the proposed policy.