Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Trump Administration Proposes Revisions to Endangered Species Act Section 7 “Cottonwood” Consultation Regulations

January 11, 2021

Contact(s):

Laury Marshall,
Laury_Marshall@fws.gov,
703-589-6947



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) propose to amend the regulations that implement section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In 2019, the Service and NMFS finalized revisions to the regulations pertaining to how federal agencies meet their responsibilities under the ESA, including how the requirement to reinitiate consultation applies to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (FS) land management plans. The Service and NMFS now propose to extend the exemption from the requirement to reinitiate consultation for BLM and FS land management plans to the “new information” reinitiation trigger.

This regulatory revision is the latest in a suite of actions the Trump Administration has taken to make implementation of the ESA more effective, clear and efficient for diverse partners and stakeholders. The proposed revisions would allow the affected agencies to direct limited resources to those actions that cause on-the-ground effects to listed species or designated critical habitats while avoiding reinitiation at the plan level.

“This revision is the result of efforts by President Trump and Secretary Bernhardt to enhance our conservation programs using commonsense regulations,” said Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “This action will improve the efficiency of the consultation process while also ensuring that important new information that may affect listed species or critical habitat is considered prior to actions being taken.”

The proposed revisions would clarify that reinitiation of consultation would not be required for previously approved BLM and FS land management plans when new information reveals that effects of a plan may affect listed species or critical habitat in a manner or to an extent not previously considered, provided that any authorized actions for which the new information is relevant will be addressed through a separate action-specific consultation.

The proposed rule would also revise 402.16 to remove the time limitations on the exemption from reinitiation of consultation for FS land management plans for newly listed species or newly designated critical habitat that were included in the 2019 revisions.

To view the proposed rule, please visit: https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2021-00366.pdf


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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