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Critical Habitat Exclusions

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) are jointly proposing a policy that would provide predictability, transparency, and consistency regarding how the Services consider exclusions from critical habitat designations. Rather than cover the entire range of factors that may be considered as the basis for an exclusion in any given designation, the proposed rule provides the Services' position on how they consider non-permitted conservation plans and partnerships; conservation plans permitted under section 10 of the ESA; tribal, military and federal lands; and economic impacts in the exclusion process.


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This policy will serve to clarify the critical habitat exclusion process for federal and state agencies, tribes and the public, and provide for a more defensible and predictable critical habitat exclusion process.


Read the news release

Read the extension bulletin

View the proposed policy

Read the extension notice

Get answers to frequently asked questions



On May 12, 2014, the Service published the proposed policy in the Federal Register for a 60-day comment period. The Service is extending the comment period until October 9, 2014. Information already submitted does not need to be resubmitted. 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-2011-0104]
  • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS-R9-ES-2011-0104]; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; MS: PDM, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

Last updated: October 2, 2014