News and Updates
Agencies release revised plan, assessment for protecting Canada lynx affected by Maine trapping program
Maine to manage at least 4,785 acres for Canada lynx
August 5, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is one step closer to making a decision on permitting Maine's state-regulated trapping programs for effects to the federally protected Canada lynx. The Service has released revised versions of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's incidental take plan and a corresponding draft environmental assessment of the plan for public review and comment through September 5, 2014.
The agencies previously released draft versions of these documents for public comment in November 2011, followed by three highly attended public information sessions. The Service received about 285 unique letters, 129 comment cards from public information sessions and 6,100 form letters commenting on issues from outreach and monitoring measures to lynx handling procedures and enforcement.
News release (PDF and web)
Proposal would help southern Maine landowners conserve rare rabbit
June 30, 2014
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have drafted a 50-year agreement to restore New England cottontail habitat on private and state-owned lands in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Sagadahoc, Waldo and York counties in Maine. Under the proposed agreement, MDIFW would work with interested landowners to restore and manage up to 12,000 acres of young forest habitat.
The agreement, called a candidate conservation agreement with assurances, helps landowners voluntarily manage lands for rare species by assuring they will not be subjected to additional land use restrictions if the species is protected under the Endangered Species Act in the future. The New England cottontail has been a candidate for protection under the federal ESA since 2006 and is listed as endangered by the state of Maine. The draft agreement and associated documents are available for review and comment at http://www.fws.gov/newengland/.
Questions and answers (PDF)
More on the New England cottontail
Service estimates costs for conservation of lynx in critical habitat
June 19, 2014
The agency invites review and comment of the draft economic analysis and environmental assessment for the proposed revised designation of critical habitat for the Contiguous U.S. Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Canada lynx under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service is also reopening the comment period on the September 26, 2013, proposed revised designation of critical habitat for the lynx DPS to allow all interested parties the opportunity to comment simultaneously on the revised proposed rule, the associated DEA, the draft environmental assessment, and the amended required determinations section.
An economic analysis does not estimate the cost of overall conservation of the species. The analysis, as directed by the ESA, considers the economic impact of designating any particular area as critical habitat for the species. Critical habitat is not a reserve or wildlife refuge; these areas are essential for the conservation of the species and in which to focus overall conservation efforts for the species. These costs are usually related to consultation, administrative and project modification costs. Because all proposed critical habitat is occupied by lynx populations an most has been designated as critical habitat since 2009, consultation has already been occurring in these areas and incremental costs are expected to be minimal and administrative.