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Endangered Species Program
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species program is conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife
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Endangered Species Permits
Directions for Preparing a Safe Harbor Agreement
In general, the steps to developing a Safe Harbor Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are:
Contact the nearest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services Field Office and ask to speak to someone about the Safe Harbor Program.
You (the landowner), with the aid of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, must gather some general information. This includes, but is not limited to, a map of the property, proposed management actions, information on the listed species that occur on the property, and any other pertinent information.
We (or appropriate cooperators approved by you) will describe the baseline conditions for the enrolled property in terms appropriate for the covered species. Using the baseline determination, you and our staff will discuss land use objectives, assess habitat quality, and identify any other information needed to develop an agreement that meets the standards of the policy.
Based on all the information you provide, information gathered during site visits, and the FWS's technical assistance, you and our staff (and any other pertinent entity, such as a State fish and game agency) develop a draft Safe Harbor Agreement. The draft agreement would include a monitoring program designed to assess the success of the management practices.
To apply for a permit, you would complete an "enhancement of survival" permit application form, attach the draft Safe Harbor Agreement, and submit them to us. This is your complete application.
After we comply with all applicable ESA provisions (internal section 7 review and public comment period on your permit application), we will issue you a 10(a)(1)(A) permit and finalize the agreement. This permit will allow you to return your property to the baseline conditions at the end of the agreement. If continuation of permitted activities would likely result in jeopardy to covered species, the FWS may, as a last species, to remedy the situation. We may also suspend or revoke a permit for cause in accordance with the laws and regulations in force at the time of such suspension or revocation.
Safe Harbor Agreements Requirements
Specify the species and/or habitats and identify the enrolled property covered by the Agreement;
Describe the agreed upon baseline conditions for each of the covered species within the enrolled property;
Identify management actions that would accomplish the expected net conservation benefits to the species and the agreed upon timeframes for these management actions to remain in effect in order to achieve the anticipated net conservation benefits;
Describe the anticipated results of the management actions and any incidental take associated with the management actions;
Incorporate a notification requirement, where appropriate and feasible, to provide either Service, or Services jointly, or appropriate State agencies with a reasonable opportunity to rescue individual specimens of a covered species before any authorized incidental taking occurs;
Describe the nature of the expected incidental take upon termination of the Agreement (i.e., back to baseline conditions);
Satisfy other requirements of section 10 of the Act; and
Identify the responsible parties that will monitor maintenance of baseline conditions, implementation of terms and conditions of the Agreement, and any incidental take as authorized in the permit.
Outline of a Safe Harbor Agreement
- LIST OF COVERED SPECIES
- DESCRIPTION OF ENROLLED LANDS
- BASELINE DETERMINATION
- RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE PARTIES
- NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
- MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES FOR COVERED SPECIES
- RETURN TO BASELINE
- NET CONSERVATION BENEFIT
- CHANGED CIRCUMSTANCES
- AGREEMENT DURATION
- REPORTING AND MONITORING
- ADDITIONAL MEASURES
- REFERENCES CITED