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Endangered Species Permits
Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a candidate species? Candidate species are plants or animals for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has sufficient information on their biological status and threats to propose them as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but for which development of a proposed listing regulation is precluded by other higher priority listing activities.
In a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances, what benefits must the species receive?
The ultimate goal of Candidate Conservation Agreements is to remove enough threats to the target species to eliminate the need for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Before entering into a Candidate Conservation Agreement and providing regulatory assurances, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must reasonably expect and make a written finding that the species included in the Agreement will receive a sufficient conservation benefit from the activities conducted under the Agreement. "Sufficient conservation benefit" means that the management actions to be taken would remove the need to list the covered species, when combined with actions carried out on other necessary properties.
" Other necessary properties" are those on which conservation measures would have to be implemented in order to preclude or remove any need to list the covered species.
Conservation benefits may include reduction of habitat fragmentation rates, restoration or enhancement of habitats, increase in habitat connectivity, maintenance or increase of population numbers or distribution, reduction of the effects of catastrophic events, establishment of buffers for protected areas, and areas to test and develop new and innovative conservation strategies. Recognizing that while a species is a candidate, a property owner is under no obligation to avoid take, the assessment of benefits would include consideration for what the property owner agrees not to do as well as any enhancement measures he or she agrees to undertake. If the Service and the property owner cannot agree on what constitutes benefits, the Service would not enter into the Agreement.
What assurances does the property owner receive?
The Service will provide assurances that, in the event a species covered in the Agreement is subsequently listed as endangered or threatened, the Service will not assert additional restrictions or require additional actions above those the property owner voluntarily committed to in the Agreement. At the time the parties enter into the Agreement, the Service would issue an enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA authorizing the property owner to take individuals or modify habitat to return the property to the conditions agreed upon and specified in the Agreement, provided that the take is at a level consistent with the overall goal of precluding the need to list. The effective date on the permit would be tied to the date any covered species becomes listed.
Who can participate in a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances?
A Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances will involve the Service, one or more non-Federal property owners, and possibly other cooperators. State fish and wildlife agencies, which have primary jurisdiction over species that are not federally listed, may be a cooperator in any Candidate Conservation Agreement. Other potential cooperators include neighboring property owners, State or local agencies, Tribal governments, or Federal property owners. Only non-Federal property owners may receive regulatory assurances under the Agreement.
Will there be any public notification of Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances?
As with other permits, the Service is required to publish a notice in the Federal Register when it receives the permit application. The Service will announce receipt and availability of the application and Agreement and will accept and consider comments from the public before making a final decision on issuance of the permit.
What if I sell my land? Is the Candidate Conservation Agreement transferable?
If a property owner who is party to a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances transfers ownership of the land included in the Agreement, the Service will regard the new owner as having the same rights with respect to the subject land as the original property owner if the new property owner agrees to become part of the original Agreement.
Who do I contact to initiate a Candidate Conservation Agreement?
Contact the nearest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Field Office in your State to discuss potential cooperative opportunities.
How do I get more information?
Please view the Draft Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances Handbook
Last updated: April 14, 2015