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Designating Critical Habitat

Karner blue butterfly.

Building on the success of the Obama Administration in improving regulations and in implementing the Endangered Species Act in new and innovative ways, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service today finalized a policy and two rules that will provide a clearer, more consistent and predictable process for designating critical habitat.

These final regulation changes clarify the procedures and standards used for designating critical habitat, making minor changes to the regulations to better describe the scope and purpose of critical habitat, and clarify the criteria for designating critical habitat. This rule also revises the Services' regulations to be consistent with statutory amendments made in 2004 that make certain lands managed by the Department of Defense ineligible for designation as critical habitat. The Services believe these changes will enhance the consistency and efficiency of the critical habitat designation process.

The final rule published in the Federal Register on February 11, 2016, and becomes effective 30 days after publication on March 14, 2016.

Read the news release

View the final rule

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Last updated: September 7, 2016