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Critical Habitat Exclusions

Nihoa Millerbird.

Building on the success of the Obama Administration in improving regulations and in implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in new and innovative ways, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service today finalized a policy and two rules that will provide a clearer, more consistent and predictable process for designating critical habitat.

The new policy is intended to provide greater predictability, transparency and consistency regarding how the Services consider exclusion of areas from critical habitat designations. Under the ESA, the Services evaluate the economic, national security and other impacts of a designation and may exclude particular areas if the benefits of doing so are greater than the benefits of designation, so long as the exclusion will not result in the extinction of the species. This final policy describes the general position of the Services for considering different situations relative to the exclusion process (e.g., voluntary conservation agreements, national security, economics).

The final policy published in the Federal Register on February 11, 2016, and becomes effective 30 days after publication on March 14, 2016.

Read the news release

View the final policy

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Last updated: September 7, 2016