Agencies Extend Public Comment Period on Proposed ESA Critical Habitat Regulations

June 20, 2014


Gavin Shire (FWS), (703) 346-9123, gavin_shire@fws.gov

Keely Belva (NOAA), (301) 427-8013, keeley.belva@noaa.gov

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (together, the Services) – the two federal agencies responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA) – are extending the public comment periods on two rules and a policy to improve the process of designating areas of “critical habitat” and consulting on the effects of federal actions on critical habitat.

The two proposed rules are a revision to the definition of “adverse modification” that is used when reviewing the impact federal agency actions may have on critical habitat, and a clarification of the procedures and standards used for designating critical habitat that would also make certain lands managed by the Department of Defense ineligible for designation as critical habitat. The proposed policy would provide greater predictability, transparency and consistency regarding how the Services consider exclusions from critical habitat designations under section 4(b)(2) of the ESA.

The comment periods, which were due to close on July 11, will now close at midnight on October 9, 2014.

For comprehensive information on these proposed rules, including the notices submitted to the Federal Register, visit www.fws.gov/endangered/improving_esa/reg_reform.html.

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