[Federal Register: September 20, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 183)]
[Page 56916-56922]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 1018-AG25

Policy Regarding Controlled Propagation of Species Listed Under 
the Endangered Species Act

AGENCIES: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior; National Marine 
Fisheries Service, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of policy.


SUMMARY: This policy, published jointly by the Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), jointly 
referred to as the Services, addresses the role of controlled 
propagation in the conservation and recovery of species listed as 
endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (as 
amended) (Act). The policy provides guidance and establishes 
consistency for use of controlled propagation as a component of a 
listed species recovery strategy. This policy will help to ensure 
smooth transitions between various phases of conservation efforts such 
as propagation, reintroduction and monitoring, and foster efficient use 
of available funds. The policy supports the controlled propagation of 
listed species when recommended in an approved recovery plan or when 
necessary to prevent extinction of a species. Appropriate uses of 
controlled propagation include supporting recovery related research, 
maintaining refugia populations, providing plants or animals for 
reintroduction or augmentation of existing populations, and conserving 
species or populations at risk of imminent extinction or extirpation.

DATES: The final policy on controlled propagation is effective October 
20, 2000.

ADDRESSES: You may view comments and materials received during the 
public comment period for the draft policy document by appointment 
during normal business hours in Room 420, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, 
Arlington, Virginia 22203.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Harrelson, Division of 
Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the above address 
(703/358-2171) or by e-mail at David_Harrelson@fws.gov; or Marta 
Nammack, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service (301/713-1401) or by e-mail at Marta.Nammack@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Endangered Species Act specifically 
charges us with the responsibility for identification, protection, 
management, and recovery of species of plants and animals in danger of 
extinction. Fulfilling this responsibility requires the protection and 
conservation of not only individual organisms and populations, but also 
the genetic and ecological resources that listed species represent. 
Long-term viability depends on maintaining genetic adaptability within 
each species. Species, as defined in section 3(15) of the Act, includes 
``any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct 
population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which 
interbreeds when mature.'' Though the Act emphasizes the restoration of 
listed species in their

[[Page 56917]]

natural habitats, section 3(3) of the Act recognizes propagation as a 
tool available to us to achieve this end. The controlled propagation of 
animals and plants in certain situations is an essential tool for the 
conservation and recovery of listed species. In the past, we have used 
controlled propagation to reverse population declines and to 
successfully return listed species to suitable habitat in the wild. To 
support the goal of restoring endangered and threatened animals and 
plants, we are obligated to develop sound policies based on the best 
available scientific and commercial information.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    A draft policy on this subject was published on February 7, 1996 
(61 FR 4716), and invited public comment. We received 47 comments. 
Twenty-four were from zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and 
conservation organizations, 3 from academic institutions, 6 from 
private individuals and business organizations, 2 from government 
organizations, and 12 from State natural resource agencies. Nearly all 
comments received were supportive of the policy and its goals. Comments 
that expressed concerns or criticisms were limited, though quite 
specific. We reviewed all comments received, and suggestions or 
clarifications have been incorporated into the final policy text. The 
following describes the major issues identified and our responses.
    Issue: The draft policy, as published, would have a significant 
impact in terms of increased workload on the Services, zoological parks 
and aquariums, private organizations, and individual citizens.
    Response: We acknowledge this concern and have modified the policy 
to reduce impacts to the zoo and aquarium community, botanical 
facilities, Federal fish hatcheries, and others who may be involved in 
propagation of listed species. As amended, this final policy is not 
expected to have a significant impact on organizations or individuals 
involved in propagation of listed species. The majority of zoological 
parks and aquaria that are involved in programs assisting the recovery 
of endangered and threatened animal species native to the United States 
are members of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). The AZA 
has developed numerous strategies, protocols, and standards that 
address concerns associated with captive animal populations involved in 
conservation-based breeding programs. This final policy encourages the 
Services, and others, to follow as may be practical, the protocols and 
standards of the AZA, and other appropriate organizations, for the 
controlled propagation of animal species. The Center for Plant 
Conservation (CPC) is similar to the AZA in that this organization 
consists of member botanical gardens and arboreta that are involved in 
preventing the extinction of native plants, including those federally 
listed as endangered or threatened. When practical, the Services and 
others are encouraged to use the protocols and standards of the CPC, 
and other appropriate organizations, when propagating listed plant 
    Those individuals or organizations that currently have permits to 
keep listed species are exempt from this policy for the duration of the 
permit unless the Regional Director (FWS) or Assistant Administrator 
(NMFS) determines otherwise. For example, a permit holder implementing 
activities recommended in an approved recovery plan is exempt and would 
not need to reapply for a new permit. We have made substantial efforts 
to avoid adverse impacts, economic or otherwise, in order that 
cooperative recovery partnership opportunities may be maintained or 
increased with qualified organizations and individuals.
    Issue: The policy would apply to research activities identified in 
recovery plans in which controlled propagation or unintentional 
propagation may occur.
    Response: Research identified in recovery plans, including research 
that may lead to development of a controlled propagation capacity, is 
not covered by this policy because the intent of such research is not 
the production of individuals for introduction into the wild. Should 
offspring that are the product of research efforts be proposed for 
introduction into the wild, such offspring and any proposed 
reintroductions will be subject to this policy.
    Should circumstances arise in the course of implementing recovery 
activities, including research, in which application of this policy is 
deemed necessary for the benefit of the listed species, the decision to 
apply the policy will rest with the Regional Director or Assistant 
    Research on species with short lifespans (e.g., 1 to 2 years) that 
requires maintenance of a captive population not intended for release 
to the wild is exempt from this policy. However, all activities 
involving reproduction of a listed U.S. species must meet the 
requirements of the Act, as well as any other legal and administrative 
obligations. All persons or institutions conducting approved activities 
involving controlled propagation of listed species for purposes other 
than release in the wild will still be required to develop appropriate 
measures to address concerns identified under section E. 5. of this 
    Issue: The policy would apply to foreign species being maintained 
and propagated in U.S. zoological and aquarium facilities or by private 
    Response: This policy only applies to species indigenous to the 
United States and its territories for which we have, or intend to 
prepare, recovery plans. We have exempted foreign species that are 
listed under the Act and being propagated or maintained in the United 
States for conservation purposes.
    Issue: Requirements to develop genetics and reintroduction guidance 
documents for species being propagated for augmentation of existing 
populations or for the establishment of new populations in the wild are 
not practical.
    Response: We recognize this concern and have modified the policy 
accordingly. In many instances there is insufficient biological 
knowledge of the listed species to develop detailed genetic management 
documents, and the requirement for these documents may unnecessarily 
burden conservation and recovery efforts. However, we strongly 
recommend development of these documents if adequate information is 
available. Furthermore, we reemphasize the recommendation in the draft 
policy that controlled propagation activities follow accepted 
standards, which include appropriate genetics management.
    Issue: There are too many reporting requirements.
    Response: We have reduced reporting requirements. However, we need 
to identify those listed species involved in controlled propagation 
programs, the level of production in these programs, and efforts to 
secure appropriate habitat for population augmentation, reintroduction, 
and recovery.
    Issue: The requirement that controlled propagation be permitted 
only if indicated in an approved final recovery plan would place an 
unnecessary burden on Federal programs to revise existing recovery 
plans to meet this requirement.
    Response: We do not agree. The recovery plans for most species for 
which controlled propagation is occurring have identified this action 
as a specific recovery task. Where controlled propagation is not 
identified as a task in the recovery plan, but has been subsequently 
determined to be necessary to the recovery of the species,

[[Page 56918]]

the plan would need to be amended or revised.

Required Determinations

1. Regulatory Planning and Review

    In accordance with Executive Order 12866, this policy was submitted 
for review by the Office of Management and Budget. In accordance with 
the criteria set forth in Executive Order 12866, this policy is not a 
significant regulatory action. Under current and anticipated levels of 
activity, this policy will not result in an annual economic effect of 
$100 million or more. Moreover, this policy will not adversely affect 
an economic sector, productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units 
of government. The controlled propagation policy does not pertain to 
commercial products or activities or anything traded in the 
    2. Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)
    We certify that this policy will not have a significant economic 
effect on a substantial number of small entities. This policy does not 
apply to all species listed under the Act but only to those species 
native to the United States and its territories for which recovery 
plans exist or are expected to be developed. Furthermore, controlled 
propagation is restricted to those species for which such propagation 
is specifically recommended in an approved final recovery plan. 
Programs involving the controlled propagation of federally listed 
species are typically restricted to institutions such as the FWS's 
National Fish Hatcheries and Fish Technology Centers. Nongovernmental 
entities that may be involved in the controlled propagation of listed 
species are typically organizations with a high level of technical 
skill in the captive maintenance and breeding of plants and animals, 
such as zoos, aquaria, and botanical gardens. Rarely are academic 
institutions and even more infrequently, private individuals, involved 
in the controlled propagation of listed species for conservation and 
recovery purposes.

3. Small Business Regulatory Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 804(2))

    This is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This policy will 
not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, 
produce increases in costs or prices for consumers, individual 
industries or Federal, State or local government agencies, affect 
economic competitiveness, or economically impact geographic regions in 
the United States or its territories.

4. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

    This policy does not impose an unfunded mandate on any State, 
Tribal, or local government or the private sector of $100 million or 
more per year.

5. Takings

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, this policy does not pose 
significant takings implications, and a takings implication assessment 
is not required. Implementation of this policy will not result in 
``take'' of private property and will not alter the value of private 
property. Many reintroductions of propagated species occur exclusively 
on FWS, other Federal, or State lands, but reintroductions on private 
lands are not unknown. In such cases, the private entities work with 
the Services as willing partners to ensure the success of the 
reintroduction effort.

6. Federalism

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, this policy does not have 
sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a 
federalism assessment. It does not affect the structure or role of 
States, and will not have direct, substantial, or significant effects 
on States. Releases of propagated species typically occur on Federal or 
State lands. The States work with the Services as willing partners to 
ensure the success of reintroduction efforts.

7. Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Department of the 
Interior's Office of the Solicitor has determined that this policy does 
not unduly burden the judicial system. The final policy provides clear 
standards, simplifies procedures, reduces burden, and is clearly 
written such that litigation risk is minimized.

8. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This policy does not contain any new information collection 
requirements for which Office of Management and Budget approval under 
the Paperwork Reduction Act is required. The OMB control number for the 
FWS is 1018-0094 and for NMFS is 0648-0230 and 0648-0402.

9. National Environmental Policy Act

    We have analyzed this policy under the criteria of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 as amended, and have determined that 
the issuance of this policy is categorically excluded by the Department 
of the Interior in 516 DM 2, Appendix 1.10. The NMFS concurs with the 
Department of the Interior's determination that the issuance of this 
policy qualifies for a categorical exclusion and satisfies the 
categorical exclusion criteria in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration 216-6 Administrative Order, Environmental Review 
Procedure. No further NEPA documentation is required.

10. Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    Though no reintroductions of captively propagated federally 
endangered or threatened species have been undertaken, in accordance 
with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, ``Government-to-
Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments'' (59 FR 
22951) and 512 DM 2, we recognize the potential for such actions in the 
future and the obligation to relate to federally recognized Tribes on a 
government-to-government basis.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this final policy is 
available on request from the Washington Office of the Division of 
Endangered Species (see ADDRESSES section).
    Authors. The primary authors of this policy are David Harrelson of 
the Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Endangered Species, Mail 
Stop 420 ARLSQ, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20240 (703/358-2171), 
and Marta Nammack of the National Marine Fisheries Service's Protected 
Species Management Division, 1335 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, 
Maryland 20910 (301/713-1401).

Policy Statement

    A. What is the purpose of this policy? This policy provides 
guidance and establishes consistency with respect to Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), jointly 
called the Services, activities in which the controlled propagation of 
a listed species, as the term ``species'' is defined in section 3(15) 
of the Act, is implemented as a component of the recovery strategy for 
a listed species. It supports and promotes coordination between various 
phases of controlled propagation efforts such as propagation technology 
development, propagation for release, population augmentation, 
reintroduction, and monitoring. This policy will also contribute to the 
efficient use of funding resources.
    Guidance is provided regarding the use of controlled propagation 
     Preventing the extinction of listed species, subspecies, 
or populations;

[[Page 56919]]

     Recovery-oriented scientific research, including, but not 
restricted to, developing propagation methods and technology, and other 
actions that are expected to result in a net benefit to the listed 
taxon. Use of surrogates, while applicable to the recovery of listed 
species, is exempt from the requirements of this policy;
     Maintaining genetic vigor and demographic diversity of 
listed species, subspecies, or populations;
     Maintaining refugia populations for nearly extinct animals 
or plants on a temporary basis until threats to a listed species' 
habitat are alleviated, or necessary habitat modifications are 
completed, or when potentially catastrophic events occur (e.g., 
chemical spills, severe storms, fires, flooding);
     Providing individuals for establishing new, self-
sustaining populations necessary for recovery of the listed species; 
     Supplementing or enhancing extant populations to 
facilitate recovery of the listed species.
    B. What is the scope of this policy? This policy applies to all 
pertinent organizational elements of both Services, notwithstanding 
those differences in administrative procedures and policies as noted. 
Exceptions to this policy appear in section F. This policy pertains to 
all efforts requiring permits under 50 CFR 17 subparts C and D, funded, 
authorized, or carried out by us that are conducted to propagate 
threatened or endangered species by:
     Establishing or maintaining refugia populations;
     Producing individuals for research and technology 
development needs;
     Producing individuals for supplementing extant 
populations; and
     Producing individuals for reintroduction to suitable 
habitat within the species' historic range.
    C. Why is this policy necessary? The controlled propagation of 
animals and plants in certain situations is an essential tool for the 
conservation and recovery of listed species. In the past, we have used 
controlled propagation to reverse population declines and to 
successfully return listed species to suitable habitat in the wild.
    Though controlled propagation has a supportive role in the recovery 
of some listed species, the intent of the Act is ``to provide a means 
whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened 
species depend may be conserved.'' Controlled propagation is not a 
substitute for addressing factors responsible for an endangered or 
threatened species' decline. Therefore, our first priority is to 
recover wild populations in their natural habitat wherever possible, 
without resorting to the use of controlled propagation. This position 
is fully consistent with the Act.
    We recognize that genetic and ecological risks may be associated 
with introducing to the wild, animals and plants bred and reared in a 
controlled environment. When considering controlled propagation as a 
recovery option, the potential benefits and risks must be assessed and 
alternatives requiring less intervention objectively evaluated. If 
controlled propagation is identified as an appropriate strategy for the 
recovery of a listed species, it must be conducted in a manner that 
will, to the maximum extent possible, preserve the genetic and 
ecological distinctiveness of the listed species and minimize risks to 
existing wild populations.
    We recognize that for many species, information available for 
detailed genetics conservation management or assessment of risks 
associated with reintroduction may be insufficient. Therefore, this 
policy does not specifically require written genetic management plans 
and ecological risk assessments to initiate or support controlled 
propagation programs. Additionally, acute conservation needs may 
legitimately outweigh delays that would be incurred by such a 
requirement. However, where sufficient biological and environmental 
information exists, and where conservation activities would not be 
unduly constrained, a formal assessment of ecological and genetic risks 
is strongly encouraged. Risks that must be evaluated in the planning of 
controlled propagation programs include the following specific 
     Removal of natural parental stock that may result in an 
increased risk of extinction by reducing the abundance of wild 
individuals and reducing genetic variability within naturally occurring 
     Equipment failures, human error, disease, and other 
potential catastrophic events that may cause the loss of some or all of 
the population being held or maintained in captivity or cultivation;
     The potential for an increased level of inbreeding or 
other adverse genetic effects within populations that may result from 
the enhancement of only a portion of the gene pool;
     Potential erosion of genetic differences between 
populations as a result of mixed stock transfers or supplementation;
     Exposure to novel selection regimes in controlled 
environments that may diminish a listed species' natural capacity to 
survive and reproduce in the wild;
     Genetic introgression, which may diminish local 
adaptations of the naturally occurring population;
     Increased predation, competition for food, space, mates, 
or other factors that may displace naturally occurring individuals, or 
interfere with foraging, migratory, reproductive, or other essential 
behaviors; and
     Disease transmission.
    Controlled propagation programs must be undertaken in a manner that 
minimizes potentially adverse impacts to existing wild populations of 
listed species, and we must conduct controlled propagation programs in 
a manner that avoids additional listing actions.
    D. What are the definitions for terms used in this policy? The 
following definitions apply:
    Controlled environment--A controlled environment is one manipulated 
for the purpose of producing or rearing progeny of the species in 
question, and of a design intended to prevent unplanned escape or entry 
of plants, animals, or gametes, embryos, seeds, propagules, or other 
potential reproductive products.
    Controlled propagation--Among animals, it includes natural or 
artificial matings, fertilization of sex cells, transfer of embryos, 
development of offspring, and grow-out of individuals of a species when 
the species is intentionally confined or the mating is directly 
intended by human intervention.
    The term also includes the human-induced propagation of plants from 
seeds, spores, callus tissue, divisions, cuttings, or other plant 
tissue, or through pollination in a controlled environment.
     Defined in the context of this policy, controlled 
propagation refers to the production of individuals, generally within a 
managed environment, for the purpose of supplementing or augmenting a 
wild population(s), or reintroduction to the wild to establish new 
    Intercross--Any instance of interbreeding or genetic exchange 
between individuals of different species, subspecies, or distinct 
population segments of a vertebrate species.
    Phenotype--The expression of the genetic makeup of an organism 
through physical characteristics that make up its appearance.
    Recovery priority system--The system used for assigning recovery 
priorities to listed species and to recovery tasks. Recovery priority 
is based on the degree of threat, recovery potential, taxonomic

[[Page 56920]]

distinctness, and presence of an actual or imminent conflict between 
the species' conservation, adverse human activities, and other threats.
    Rescue and salvage--These terms refer to extreme conditions wherein 
a species or population segment at risk of extinction is brought into a 
controlled environment (i.e., refugia) on a temporary or permanent 
    Taxon--A formal group of organisms of any rank or formal scientific 
    E. What is our Policy? This policy is intended to address 
candidate, proposed, and listed species indigenous to the United States 
and its territories for which the Services, have, or intend to prepare, 
recovery plans. This policy focuses primarily on those activities 
involving gamete transfer and subsequent development and grow-out of 
offspring in a laboratory, botanical facility, zoo, hatchery, aquarium, 
or similarly controlled environment. This policy also addresses 
activities related to or preceding controlled propagation activities 
such as:
     Obtaining and rearing offspring for research;
     Procuring broodstock for future controlled propagation and 
augmentation efforts; or
     Holding offspring for a substantial portion of their 
development or through a life-stage that experiences poor survival in 
the wild.
    The goals of this policy include coordinating recovery actions 
specific to controlled propagation activities; maximizing benefits to 
the listed species from controlled propagation efforts; assuring that 
appropriate recovery measures other than controlled propagation and 
that other existing recovery priorities are considered in making 
controlled propagation decisions; and ensuring prudent use of funds.
    Our policy is that the controlled propagation of threatened and 
endangered species will be:
    1. Used as a recovery strategy only when other measures employed to 
maintain or improve a listed species' status in the wild have failed, 
are determined to be likely to fail, are shown to be ineffective in 
overcoming extant factors limiting recovery, or would be insufficient 
to achieve full recovery. All reasonable effort should be made to 
accomplish conservation measures that enable a listed species to 
recover in the wild, with or without intervention (e.g., artificial 
cavity provisioning), prior to implementing controlled propagation for 
reintroduction or supplementation.
    2. Coordinated with conservation actions and other recovery 
measures, as appropriate or specified in recovery plans, that will 
contribute to, or otherwise support, the provision of secure and 
suitable habitat. Controlled propagation programs intended for 
reintroduction or augmentation must be coordinated with habitat 
management, restoration, and other species' recovery efforts.
    3. Based on the specific recommendations of recovery strategies 
identified in approved recovery plans or supplements to approved 
recovery plans whenever practical. The recovery plan, in addressing 
controlled propagation, should clearly identify the necessity and role 
of this activity as a recovery strategy.
    4. Based on specific consideration of the potential ecological and 
genetic effects of the removal of individuals for controlled 
propagation purposes on wild populations and the potential effects of 
introductions of artificially bred animals or plants on the receiving 
population and other resident species. Assessments of potential risks 
and benefits will be addressed, as required, through sections 7 and 10 
of the Act and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 
4332) for proposed controlled propagation actions.
    5. Based on sound scientific principles to conserve genetic 
variation and species integrity. Intercrossing will not be considered 
for use in controlled propagation programs unless recommended in an 
approved recovery plan; supported in an approved genetic management 
plan (if information is available to develop such a plan, and which may 
or may not be part of an approved recovery plan); implemented in a 
scientifically controlled and approved manner; and undertaken to 
compensate for a loss of genetic viability in listed taxa that have 
been genetically isolated in the wild as a result of human activity. 
Use of intercross individuals for species conservation will require the 
approval of the FWS Director or that of the NMFS Assistant 
Administrator, in accordance with all applicable policies.
    6. Preceded, when practical, by the development of a genetics 
management plan based on accepted scientific principles and procedures. 
Controlled propagation protocols will follow accepted standards such as 
those employed by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA), the 
Center for Plant Conservation (CPC), and Federal agency protocols such 
as fish management guidelines to the extent practical. All efforts will 
be made by us and our cooperators to ensure that the genetic makeup of 
propagated individuals is representative of that in free-ranging 
populations and that propagated individuals are behaviorally and 
physiologically suitable for introduction. Determination of biological 
``suitability'' may include, but should not necessarily be limited to, 
analysis of geomorphological similarities of habitat, genetic 
similarity, phenotypic characteristics, stock histories, habitat use, 
and other ecological, biological, and behavioral indicators. All 
controlled propagation programs will address the issue of disposition 
of individuals found to be:
    (a) Unfit for introduction to the wild;
    (b) Unfit to serve as broodstock;
    (c) Surplus to program needs; or
    (d) Surplus to the recovery needs for the species (e.g., to 
preclude genetic and ecological swamping).
    Controlled propagation activities should not be initiated without 
including consideration of these issues and obtaining required permits 
and other authorizations as necessary. Disposition of individuals 
surplus to program needs may include use for research or other 
appropriate purposes.
    Programs involving the controlled propagation of listed species for 
research purposes identified in final recovery plans and in which 
progeny will not be reintroduced to the wild are exempt from this 
policy. Examples of exempt actions include research involving the 
determination of germination rates in plants and spawning success rates 
in fish. This exemption does not extend to the need for these 
activities to comply with any other applicable Federal or State 
permitting or regulatory requirements.
    7. Conducted in a manner that takes all known precautions to 
prohibit the potential introduction or spread of diseases and parasites 
into controlled environments or suitable habitat.
    8. Conducted in a manner that will prevent the escape or accidental 
introduction of individuals outside their historic range.
    9. Conducted, when feasible, at more than one location in order to 
reduce the potential for catastrophic loss at a single facility when a 
substantial fraction of a species or important population segment is 
brought into captivity.
    10. Coordinated, as appropriate, with organizations and qualified 
individuals both within and outside our agencies. We will cooperate 
with other Federal agencies and State, Tribal, and local governments.
    11. Conducted in a manner that will meet our information needs and 
that will be in accordance with accepted protocols and standards. In 
the case of listed species for which traditional

[[Page 56921]]

studbooks or registrations are not practical, records of eggs, larvae, 
or other life-stages will be maintained.
    12. With limited exceptions, implemented only after a commitment to 
funding is secured.
    13. Prior to releases of propagated individuals, tied to 
development of a reintroduction plan, unless this information is 
already contained in an approved recovery plan, species survival plan, 
or equivalent document that has received the approval of the 
appropriate Service. Controlled propagation and reintroduction plans 
will identify measurable objectives and milestones for the proposed 
propagation and reintroduction effort. The controlled propagation and 
reintroduction plan should be based on strategies identified in the 
approved recovery plan. It should include protocols for health 
management, disease screening and disease-free certification, 
monitoring and evaluation of genetic, demographic, life-history, 
phenotypic, and behavioral characteristics, data collection, 
recordkeeping, and reporting as appropriate. On implementation, 
periodic evaluations must be made to assess project progress and 
consider new scientific information and the status of habitat 
conservation efforts.
    14. Conducted in accordance with the regulations implementing the 
Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Animal Welfare 
Act, Lacey Act, Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, and the Services' 
procedures relative to NEPA.
    F. Does this policy allow any exceptions? Except as identified in 
this section, any exceptions to the above policy guidelines will 
require specific approval from the FWS Director or the NMFS Assistant 
Administrator on a case by case basis. The following circumstances have 
been anticipated and are exempted from this policy.
    1. Pacific salmon are exempted from this policy. NMFS, as the lead 
Service for the recovery of listed Pacific salmon, has developed and 
will continue to use the interim policy (April 5, 1993, 58 FR 17573) 
addressing controlled propagation of these species. The NMFS interim 
artificial propagation policy more specifically addresses the 
biological needs of these species.
    2. Cases where a listed species has an ephemeral reproductive stage 
or short (1-2 year) lifespan that necessitates controlled propagation 
to sustain the listed species in refugia, or to maintain a research 
population where there is no intent to release captive-bred individuals 
from that population into the wild, are exempt.
    3. In the absence of an approved recovery plan, recommendations 
contained in recovery outlines, draft recovery plans, or made in 
writing by a recovery team may be used to justify controlled 
propagation as a necessary recovery measure for listed species in 
danger of imminent extinction or extirpation of critical populations. 
However, under such circumstances initiation of controlled propagation 
activities will require the Regional Director's or Assistant 
Administrator's approval.
    4. Candidate and proposed species held in refugia, used in 
research, or used for the development of propagation technology that 
are subsequently listed as endangered or threatened are exempted from 
this policy. Any propagation program initiated with candidate or 
proposed species with the intent to produce individuals for release to 
the wild are not exempted and must comply with this policy.
    5. Captive breeding of listed species that are not native to the 
United States or its territories or possessions, and producing 
individuals not addressed in an approved recovery plan and not intended 
for release within the United States or its territories or possessions, 
is exempt from this policy. However, such activities must comply with 
any other Federal and State laws, permit needs, or other requirements.
    6. The temporary removal and holding of listed individuals, unless 
such actions intentionally involve reproduction other than for purposes 
of recovery-related research or as needed to maintain a refugia 
population is exempted.
    7. The short-term holding or captive-rearing of wild-bred 
individuals obtained for later reintroduction, augmentation, or 
translocation efforts when controlled propagation does not take place 
or is not intended during the period of captive maintenance.
    8. Actions involving cryopreservation or other methods of 
conserving biological materials, if not intended for near-term use in 
controlled propagation or the reintroduction into the wild of listed 
species, are exempt from this policy. When and if reintroduction to the 
wild requires the use of these materials, such activities would come 
under the scope of this policy.
    9. Additional exceptions to this policy may be made on a case-by-
case basis with the approval of the FWS Director or NMFS Assistant 
Administrator, as warranted.
    Where conflicts may arise between this policy and programs carried 
out in furtherance of restoration goals or required by treaty, trust 
resources obligations, or other legal mandate, we will, to the extent 
practical, make every effort to achieve solutions that are consistent 
with the requirements of the Act and this policy.
    G. Who are our potential partners? We recognize the need for 
partnerships with other Federal agencies, States, Tribes, local 
governments, and private entities in the recovery of listed species. We 
will seek to develop partnerships with qualified cooperators for the 
purpose of propagating listed, proposed, and candidate species (as 
authorized under sections 6 and 2(a)(5) of the Act). Guidance for this 
activity is as follows:
    1. The FWS Regional Directors or the NMFS Regional Administrators 
may explore opportunities for accomplishing controlled propagation and 
any associated research tasks with other Federal cooperators, FWS/NMFS 
facilities, State agencies, Tribes, zoological parks, aquaria, 
botanical gardens, academia, and other qualified parties at their 
discretion. We will select cooperators on the basis of scientific 
merits; technical capability; willingness to adhere to our policies, 
guidance, and protocols; and cost-effectiveness.
    2. Regional Directors or Regional Administrators, depending on 
which agency has lead for the species, will be responsible for ensuring 
appropriate staff oversight of programs conducted by all cooperators to 
ensure adherence to necessary protocols, guidance, and permit 
conditions, and to coordinate reporting requirements.
    H. What are the Federal agency responsibilities under this policy? 
This policy shall be implemented in accordance with the following 
    1. The Regional Directors and Regional Administrators will ensure 
compliance with this policy for those species for which they have 
    2. Regional Directors and Regional Administrators are responsible 
for recovery of listed species under their jurisdiction. Recovery 
actions for which Regional Directors and Regional Administrators have 
authority include establishment of refugia, initiation of necessary 
research or technology development, implementation of controlled 
propagation programs, and propagation research for listed species. When 
determining species' priority for inclusion in controlled propagation 
programs, we will consider the following:
    (a) Whether or not a listed species' recovery plan outline, draft 
recovery plan, or final recovery plan identifies controlled propagation 
as an appropriate recovery strategy and what

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priority this task is assigned within the overall recovery strategy.
    (b) The availability and willingness of cooperators to contribute 
to recovery activities, including cost sharing.
    3. In the event that the current recovery plan fails to identify 
the establishment of refugia, initiation of propagation research, or 
controlled propagation as recovery tasks as necessary to the recovery 
of the species, the recovery plan will be updated, amended, or revised 
as appropriate. Recovery plans not yet finalized will be amended to 
reflect the changed recovery requirements of the listed species and 
provide justifications as necessary.
    4. Within 6 months of the effective date of this policy, FWS 
Regional Directors will identify all listed species for which they have 
the lead recovery responsibility that are (1) being held in refugia; 
(2) involved in pre-propagation research; and (3) are involved in 
controlled propagation programs. For species involved in controlled 
propagation programs, the level of production and the recovery purpose 
(e.g., augmentation of extant populations, establishment of new 
populations) will be identified. This information will be reported to 
the Assistant Director, Endangered Species, in the FWS Washington D.C. 
    5. Continuation of those programs not in conformity with this 
policy 12 months following implementation of this policy will require 
the FWS Director's or NMFS Assistant Administrator's concurrence. The 
Regional Director and Regional Administrator will provide his or her 
recommendation to the Director or Assistant Administrator.
    I. Does the policy include annual reporting requirements? For the 
FWS, annual reports based on fiscal years will be prepared by the 
responsible regional authority and submitted to the Director, through 
the Assistant Director, Endangered Species, not later than October 31st 
of each year. Reports will contain the following information for each 
species being maintained in refugia, in pre-propagation research, or 
under propagation:
     Recovery priority number;
     Policy criteria that are not met (if any);
     A brief description of the controlled propagation program, 
including objectives and status;
     List of cooperators, if any;
     Expenditures for the past fiscal year;
     Prospects for, or obstacles to, achieving research, 
controlled propagation, or reintroduction objectives, and,
     A brief description of the status of wild populations, if 
    J. What authorities support this policy? The Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, as amended; Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended; 
Animal Welfare Act; Lacey Act; Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956; and 
National Environmental Policy Act.
    K. What are the information collection requirements? The permit 
application required for participation in the controlled propagation of 
species listed under the Act is FWS form #3-200-55 Interstate Commerce 
and Recovery and form #3-200-56 for incidental take. Applicants for 
NMFS research/enhancement permits or incidental take permits must meet 
certain criteria in their applications but there are no specific forms. 
We use these forms or applications to permit recovery actions that may 
be undertaken for scientific purposes, enhancement of propagation or 
survival, or for incidental taking. Whenever we ask the public to 
submit information, we must have authorization from the Office of 
Management and Budget. As part of the permitting process, we often ask 
the public to provide information such as filling out permit 
applications or submitting reports.
    Information collection requirements under this policy are included 
under the Office of Management and Budget collection approval number 
1018-0094 (FWS) and 0648-0230 (NMFS), which includes information 
collection for permits granted for interstate commerce and recovery and 
incidental take. The expiration date of this approval is February 28, 
2001(FWS), and October 31, 2001 (NMFS). The purpose of information 
collection is to identify performance of permitted tasks and make 
decisions, according to criteria established in various Federal 
wildlife and plant conservation statutes and described in 50 CFR 
17.22(a)(1) and (3) and 17.32(a)(1) and (3) (FWS) and 50 CFR 222 
    We have estimated that the time required by an applicant to 
complete FWS form 3-200-55 is 2 hours. Applications to NMFS for these 
permits are estimated to require 80 hours for completion. The 
information required is already known to the applicant and need only be 
entered on the application form. Summary information for endangered 
species permit applications will be published in the Federal Register 
as required by regulation. This notice is provided pursuant to section 
10(c) of the Act and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). The total burden 
hours for completing reporting requirements is also estimated at 2 
hours for the FWS and 80 hours for NMFS. No costs to applicants beyond 
the cost of hour burden described above are anticipated. Annual reports 
are generally required for permits for scientific research.
    For organizations, businesses, or individuals operating as a 
business (i.e., permittee not covered by the Privacy Act), we request 
that such entities identify any information that should be considered 
privileged and confidential business information to allow us to meet 
our responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act. Confidential 
business information must be clearly marked ``Business Confidential'' 
at the top of the first page and each succeeding page, and must be 
accompanied by a nonconfidential summary of the confidential 
information. Documents may be made available to the public under 
Department of the Interior Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 
regulations in 43 CFR 2.13(c)(4), 43 CFR 2.15(d)(1)(I) and Department 
of Commerce 15 CFR 4. Documents and other information submitted with 
these applications are made available for public review, subject to the 
requirements of the Privacy Act and FOIA, by any party who submits a 
written request for a copy of such documents to the appropriate Service 
within 30 days of the date of publication of the notice.

    Signed: August 4, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior.

    Dated: August 18, 2000.
Penelope D. Dalton,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
[FR Doc. 00-23957 Filed 9-19-00; 8:45 am]