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Regulatory Reform

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) are working collaboratively to improve the implementation of the ESA by considering appropriate changes to our practices, guidance, policies, or regulations to enhance conservation of listed species. The objective of this effort is to ensure that key operational aspects of the ESA are up-to-date, clear, and effective. We are not seeking any changes to the ESA statute because we believe that implementation can be significantly improved through rulemaking and policy formulation.

Florida Panther
  Florida Panther.
Connie Bransilver, USFWS

To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ESA in conserving endangered and threatened species, the Service and NOAA Fisheries have begun a renewed effort to identify areas where changes in ESA implementing regulations and policies may reduce burdens, redundancy, and conflict, and at the same time promote predictability, certainty, and innovation. This effort is guided by the following objectives, which conform with the principles espoused in President Obama's Executive Order 13563, "Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review"  and the Service's vision for the Endangered and Threatened Species Program: 

  • Improving the effectiveness of the ESA to conserve imperiled species;
  • Making administrative procedures as efficient as possible;
  • Improving the clarity and consistency of our regulations through, among other things, the use of plain language and by providing more precise definitions of many of our key terms;
  • Encouraging more effective conservation partnerships with other Federal agencies, the states, tribes, conservation organizations, and private landowners;
  • Encouraging innovation and cooperation in the implementation of the ESA; and
  • Reducing the frequency and intensity of conflicts when possible.

The Service and NOAA Fisheries seek to be open and transparent in our efforts to improve ESA implementation through ESA regulatory reform and meet the goals of promoting public participation, improving integration and innovation, increasing flexibility where possible, ensuring scientific integrity, and increasing our analysis of existing rules as set forth in Executive Order 13563. 



Learn More About Our
Regulatory Reform Efforts

Willamette daisy by Dillon/USFWS
    Willamette daisy.
     Jeff Dillon, USFWS





Last updated: July 17, 2014