Wyoming Ecological Services
Mountain-Prairie Region

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Relevant Authorities and Policy


Endangered Species Act (ESA)

The ESA provides protection for threatened and endangered species. Among its other provisions, the ESA requires the Service assess civil and criminal penalties for violations of the Act or its regulations. Section 9 of the ESA prohibits take of federally-listed species. Take is defined as harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or attempt to engage in any such conduct (50 CFR 17.3). The term “harm” includes significant habitat alteration which kills or injures fish or wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, spawning, rearing, migrating, feeding, or sheltering. Pursuant to section 7 of the ESA, if federal lands, funding or authorizations are involved, project proponents should work with the respective agency and they will consult with the Service.

For a current list of species protected under the ESA in Wyoming, please contact our office or refer to our website. http://www.fws.gov/Wyominges

Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)

The MBTA protects migratory birds, their parts, eggs and nests from possession, sale, purchase, barter, transport, import, export, and take. The regulatory definition of take is defined in 50 CFR 10.12 as: to pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or attempt to hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect. The MBTA applies to migratory birds that are identified in 50 C.F.R. § 10.13. Activities that result in the unpermitted take of migratory birds, their eggs, parts, or nests are illegal and prosecutable under the MBTA. Causing abandonment of a nest could constitute violation the statute. Removal or destruction of any active migratory bird nest (i.e. nests with eggs or young in them) is prohibited.

For information on migratory birds, please see the Service’s Region 6 (Mountain-Prairie Region) website. http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/migbirds/

Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act)

The Eagle Act prohibits the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase, or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit [16 U.S.C. § 668(a)]. “Take” under this statute is defined as “pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, or molest or disturb” 50 C.F.R. § 22.3. “Disturb” is defined as “to agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to a degree that causes, or is likely to cause, based on the best scientific information available, (1) injury to an eagle, (2) a decrease in its productivity, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior, or (3) nest abandonment, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior” (50 CFR 22.3 and see also 72 FR 31132).

The Eagle Act includes limited exceptions to its prohibitions through a permitting process. The Service has issued regulations concerning the permit procedures for several Eagle Act exceptions, (50 CFR 22.25, 22.26 , and 22.27). The regulations identify the application requirements as well as the issuance criteria that must be met in order for a permit to be issued. Whether or not a permit is sought or issued, the use of Avian Protection Plans (APP), Eagle Conservation Plans, or other Service-approved conservation plans that are consistent with the goal of stable or increasing eagle breeding populations may be useful in addressing eagle conservation. See Appendix B for general information on APP development.

For information on bald and golden eagles, please refer to the Service’s website at: http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/BaldEagle.htm. For information on Eagle Conservation Plan development, see: http://www.fws.gov/windenergy/eagle_guidance.html.

Species of Management Concern

The Service coordinates with federal and state resource management agencies to conserve species of management concern. Both the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are mandated to conserve species of management concern and their habitats. The BLM ensures that actions requiring their authorization are “consistent with the conservation needs of special status species and do not contribute to the need to list any special status species" (BLM, Manual 6840). The USFS ensures the viability of the Regional Forester’s sensitive species to preclude federal listing (FSM 2670). WGFD designates species whose conservation status warrants increased management, funding, and consideration in conservation, land use, and development planning. http://gf.state.wy.us/SWAP2010/Plan/index.asp


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Last updated: April 10, 2013