We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a final policy on crediting voluntary conservation actions taken for species prior to their listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The policy gives landowners, government agencies, and others incentives to carry out voluntary conservation actions for unlisted species by allowing the benefits to the species from a voluntary conservation action undertaken prior to listing under the ESA to be used—either by the person who undertook such action or by a third party—to mitigate or to serve as a compensatory measure for the detrimental effects of another action undertaken after listing. This policy will help us further our efforts to protect native species and conserve the ecosystems on which they depend.
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