ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized its Endangered Species Act (ESA) Compensatory Mitigation Policy (CMP). It is the first such policy issued by the Service. The policy that will effectively and sustainably offset the adverse impacts of development activities to the nation’s most at-risk species and their habitats.
The Service released a final revised Mitigation Policy in November 2016 and has now finalized the ESA CMP, which provides greater certainty and predictability to the regulated community while improving conservation outcomes for affected species.
The CMP adopts the guiding principles from the final revised Mitigation Policy, including the goal of improving or, at minimum, maintaining the current status of affected resources, whenever doing so is allowed by law.
The final policy is the first comprehensive treatment of compensatory mitigation under authority of the ESA to be issued by the Service. The policy clarifies existing guidance and covers all compensatory mitigation mechanisms recommended or supported by the Service when implementing the ESA including: permittee-responsible mitigation, conservation banking, in-lieu fee programs and habitat credit exchanges. The benefits provided by these mitigation programs will encourage and incentivize federal agencies and applicants to develop proposed actions that compensate for adverse impacts to affected species.
The Service has issued comprehensive guidance on the implementation of compensatory mitigation projects and programs under the ESA. The final policy became effective upon publication in the Federal Register on December 27, 2016.
The mitigation principles and compensatory mitigation standards identified in this draft policy are part of the Service’s efforts to improve the implementation of the ESA.