Endangered Species
Midwest Region



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Endangered Species Permits

Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA)


CCAA for Massasauga Ratttlesnake
in Michigan

Proposed CCAA (Feb. 23, 2016)


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources applied for an enhancement of survival permit under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The permit would authorize take of eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus), resulting from certain land use and conservation activities, should the species be listed as endangered or threatened in the future. The permit application includes a proposed programmatic candidate conservation agreement with assurances (CCAA) between the DNR, the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and the Service. The requested term of the proposed CCAA and permit is 25 years. We are accepting comments on the permit application and draft CCAA. The comment period is open through March 24, 2016.


Eastern massasagua rattlensnake

Photo courtesy of Mike Redmer


A Candidate Conservation Agreement is a formal agreement between the Service and one or more parties to address the conservation needs of proposed or candidate species, or species likely to become candidates, before they become listed as endangered or threatened. Landowners voluntarily commit to conservation actions that will help stabilize or restore the species with the goal that listing will become unnecessary.



Candidate Conservation Agreements encourage conservation actions for species that are candidates for listing as threatened or endangered, or are likely to become candidates. The goal is that conservation can preclude the need for federal listing as threatened or endangered or can occur before the species status has become so dire that listing is necessary. Although a single property owner's activities may not eliminate the need to list, conservation, if conducted by enough property owners throughout the species' range, can eliminate the need to list.


Benefits to Landowners

Candidate Conservation Agreements may benefit landowners in several ways. First, if the actions preclude listing, the landowner is not regulated by the Endangered Species Act. Second, if the conservation actions are not sufficient and the species is listed, the Agreement automatically becomes a permit authorizing the landowner incidental take of the species. Thus, the agreements provide landowners with assurances that their conservation efforts will not result in future regulatory obligations in excess of those they agree to at the time they enter into the Agreement. Third, for landowners who want to conserve the species or want to manage habitat on their land, the Agreement provides an avenue to potential federal or state cost-share programs.


Directions for Preparing a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances


Frequently Asked Questions about Candidate Conservation Agreements


An example Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances: Eastern Massasauga on Rome Nature Preserve in Ashtabula County, Ohio


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Last updated: February 23, 2016