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Incidental Take Statements

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services), the two federal agencies responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA), are proposing to amend regulations governing Incidental Take Statements (ITS) for endangered species.

Red-cockaded woodpecker.
  Red-cockaded woodpecker.

An ITS is an estimate by the Services of the "take" of a threatened or endangered species that is likely to result from an action by a federal agency. "Take" means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. ITSs are produced by the Services as part of a biological opinion resulting from consultations with the federal agencies under section 7 of the ESA.

The Services have found that in many cases, the biology of a listed species or the nature of the proposed action makes it difficult to detect or monitor the precise take of individual animals. In these cases, evaluating impacts to a "surrogate" may be the most reasonable and meaningful measure of assessing and monitoring take of listed species. The use of surrogates is a practical way to express the amount or extent of anticipated take in cases where the nature of the take-related impacts and the biology of the affected listed species make it difficult and costly to detect and accurately monitor.

Therefore, the Services are proposing to amend their regulations to codify the use of surrogates to express the likely extent of take and provide for the use of "Programmatic Incidental Take Statements" for ongoing or long-term federal actions.

These changes are meant to clarify the current policy of the Services related to the issuance of ITSs as part of a section 7 consultation. The changes will also allow for flexibility in how the Services prepare ITSs in situations where assessing and monitoring take of endangered and threatened species may be extremely difficult, time-consuming and expensive.

Proposed Rule 
View the news release
View the Federal Register notice
Get answers to frequently asked questions

The service is accepting comments for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. Comments must be received before 11:59 p.m. on November 4, 2013. Written comments and information can be submitted by one of the following methods:

    • Electronically: Use the federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to docket number [FWS-R9-ES-2011-0080]
    • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS-R9-ES-2011-0080]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; MS: PDM, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.





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





Last updated: October 2, 2014