U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
October 21, 2008
Contacts: Mark Wilson 406-449-5225 ext 205
Diane Katzenberger 303-236-4578
Draft Economic Analysis of Conservation Actions to Protect Canada Lynx Released
Public Hearings to be held in Kalispell, MT and Cody, WY
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released an analysis that estimates costs related to the designation of critical habitat for the Canada lynx at $1.49 million over the next 20 years. All forecasted impacts (those associated with a critical habitat designation apart from other lynx conservation efforts) in this analysis stem from additional administrative costs due to increased need for interagency consultation with the Service.
The analysis quantifies economic impacts of lynx conservation efforts associated with timber activities; development; recreation; mining and oil and gas activities; livestock grazing; and species research and management.
In February 2008, the Service proposed to revise the critical habitat designation for the Canada lynx, which is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In total, the Service proposed to designate approximately 42,753 square miles of habitat in portions of northern Maine, northeastern Minnesota, the Northern Rocky Mountains (northwestern Montana and northeastern Idaho), the Northern Cascades (north-central Washington), and the Greater Yellowstone Area (southwestern Montana and northwestern Wyoming).
At this time, the Service is also asking for public comments on potential boundary refinements for three critical habitat units in the Northern Rockies, Greater Yellowstone Area, and Minnesota based upon more detailed information received regarding lynx habitat in these areas.
Comments and information from the public are invited on all aspects of the revised proposal, including data on economic and other potential impacts of the proposed designation.
In releasing the analysis, the Service is also reopening the public comment period on the revised critical habitat proposal for Canada lynx. Comments submitted during the initial comment period from February 28, 2008 to April 28, 2008 need not be resubmitted as they will be incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered.
The Service is also seeking comments on a draft environmental assessment for the proposed critical habitat designation and draft conservation agreements that cover lands in Maine and in the northern Rockies that could result in exclusions from the final critical habitat designation.
Comments on these documents will be accepted until November 20, 2008. Comments and information may be hand delivered or mailed to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2008-0026, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, Arlington, VA 22203 or submitted electronically via the federal eRulemaking Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov.
Public hearings will be held in Kalispell, Montana on November 7, 2008 at the Red Lion Hotel, 20 N. Main Street and in Cody, Wyoming on November 13, 2008 at the Cody Auditorium, 1240 Beck Avenue.
The hearings will begin at 5:00 p.m. with a brief informal presentation and discussion followed by the formal public testimonies at 6:00 p.m. Written comments will also be accepted at the hearings.
The areas proposed for the revised critical habitat designation include:
Maine: Approximately 10,633 square miles in portions of Aroostook, Franklin, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Somerset Counties.
Minnesota: Approximately 8,226 square miles in portions of Cook, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis Counties, and Superior National Forest.
Northern Rocky Mountains: Approximately 11,304 square miles in portions of Boundary County in Idaho; and Flathead, Glacier, Granite, Lake, Lewis and Clark, Lincoln, Missoula, Pondera, Powell and Teton Counties in Montana. This area includes the Flathead Indian Reservation, National Forest lands and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in the Garnet Resource Area.
North Cascades: Approximately 2,000 square miles in portions of Chelan and Okanogan Counties which includes BLM lands in the Spokane District.
Greater Yellowstone Area: Approximately 10,590 square miles in Gallatin, Park, Sweetgrass, Stillwater, and Carbon Counties in Montana; and Park, Teton, Fremont, Sublette, and Lincoln Counties in Wyoming.
Approximately 58 percent of the proposed critical habitat occurs on Federal lands and approximately 30 percent on private lands with the remaining areas under state or tribal ownership.
Critical habitat is a term in the ESA that identifies geographic areas containing features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species, and which may require special management considerations or protection. Designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership, establish a refuge or preserve, and has no impacts on private landowners taking actions on their land that do not require federal funding or permits.
Federal agencies that undertake, fund or permit activities that may affect critical habitat are required to consult with the Service to ensure such actions do not adversely modify or destroy designated critical habitat.
For more information regarding Canada lynx and copies of the aforementioned documents, visit the Service’s web site at:
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.