Listing and Candidate Conservation in the Southeast. Southeast Atlantic Slope Mollusk Meeting Raleigh, North Carolina January 11, 2012. Section 4 of the Federal Endangered Species Act (Act).
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Listing and Candidate Conservation in the Southeast Southeast Atlantic Slope Mollusk Meeting Raleigh, North Carolina January 11, 2012
Section 4 of the Federal Endangered Species Act (Act) • Outlines the procedures for adding and removing species from the list and designation of critical habitat. • Outlines recovery plans and 5 year reviews. • Clearly assigns responsibilities to both the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Commerce .
Definitions Endangered: any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range Threatened: any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
Definitions Candidate: are those taxa for which the Service has sufficient information on their biological status and threats to list as endangered or threatened under the Actbut for which the development of a listing regulation has been precluded to date by other higher priority listing activities. • Critical Habitat: the specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time its listed, on which are found those physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation of the species and (II) which require special management considerations or protection; and specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed such that the areas are essential for the conservation of the species.
How are species listed? • Petition process or • Candidate assessment process
A species is added to the candidate list whenwe have sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to support a proposal to list as E or T, but precluded by higher priority listing actions. Determined by Five Listing Factors: • The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species’ habitat or range • Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes • Disease or predation • The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms • Other natural or manmade factors affecting the species’ survival. It is then assigned a listing priority number based on: 1) taxonomic status (sole member of genus, subspecies, pop/DPS), and 2) magnitude and imminence of threats.
Candidate Assessment Process Internal Process • Species that we believe meet the definition of threatened or endangered under the ESA • Candidate Notice of Review Alabama pearlshell survey Chucky madtom, photo by J.R. Shute
Petitions External Process • Petitions are formal requests from the public or other stakeholders to add or remove species from the List, reclassify a species, or designate or revise CH • 90 day findings (substantial or not) • 12 month findings (warranted, warranted but precluded, not warranted).
Rulemaking • Proposed rules published in Federal Register. Comment periods vary (typically 60 days); Public hearings held upon request; Notices (e.g., of economic analysis or public hearings) also published in Federal Register. • Final rules published within one year of proposed rule • Emergency rules no public comment period and effective for up to 240 days
Critical Habitat • Should be designated at time of listing • Refers to those areas that contain the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species • Involves an economic analysis and possible exclusions • Highly controversial and often misunderstood • May be found to be “not prudent” or “not determinable” Clinch River, TN Cahaba River, AL
Megapetition • Received from Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Alabama Rivers Alliance, Clinch Coalition, Dogwood Alliance, Gulf Restoration Network, Tennessee Forests Council, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy on April 20, 2010. • 404 species across the Southeast with overlap with Regions 2, 3, and 5 • 1,145-page petition
Megapetition • Taxonomic Breakdown: • 92 Crustaceans • 92 Mussels and Snails (26 from SE Atlantic Slope) • 82 Plants • 55 Insects • 48 Fish • 15 Amphibians • 13 Reptiles • 4 Mammals • 3 Birds Magnificent Ramshorn - A. Wood
Determining Our Future Workload • May 2011: FWS settled lawsuits with Wild Earth Guardians (WEG) and CBD over a backlog of 251 candidate species – including 61 in the Southeast. Settlement included a workplan to guide agency actions over next 6 years. • September 2011: FWS found 374 of the 404 aquatic and aquatic-dependent species from the “megapetition” may warrant ESA listing
Listing Work PlanFWS commitments: • Complete 90-day and/or 12-month petition findings for over 500 species in the next 2 years. • Over a period of six years: • Determine whether 251 species on the November 2010 list of candidates should be listed (SE Region has 61 of those species); • List an additional 31 species (SE Region has lead for 2 of those species) • Make 90-day findings on incoming petitions to screen for emergency listing, and, if necessary, process listings; and • Designate critical habitat at the time of listing when prudent and determinable. .
Listing Work Plan:General WEG & CBD commitments • Moratorium and limitations on litigation to enforce ESA deadlines or to challenge warranted-but-precluded findings. • Cap on petitions submitted each year.
Listing Work PlanJoint FWS-WEG/CBD Commitments • Work to ensure that other deadline litigation or the remedy phase of merits challenges do not interfere with the work plan. • Establish dispute resolution process if the assumptions identified in the agreements do not materialize. • The FWS and WEG will hold annual meetings to discuss progress.
Listing Work Plan The work plan provides certainty and predictability to landowners and communities about what species will be listed and the general timeline. The Service will continue to work closely with our state counterparts and other key stakeholders as we implement the plan
Next Steps • Gather as much information as possible on status and distribution of 374 species with “substantial” petition findings from Megapetition, and the threats they face. • Work to conserve as many of these species and our federal candidates as possible.
Candidate Conservation : Southeast Region’s Commitment • Launched “CCAA +” Initiative • More than $200,000 in FY 2012 • Hired a new CCAA Coordinator for the Region (Gabrielle (Gabe) Horner) • $50,000 for outreach and engagement • Plan to work cooperatively with all partners and stakeholders to address threats and secure conservation agreements
Conservation Agreements Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs) and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs) FWS biologist Mike Sealy holds a candidate species, the Louisiana pine snake.
CCAs and CCAAs are both voluntary, • formal agreements with the Service. • CCAAs also • provide incentives • to non-Federal • landowners: • Regulatory • Certainty • Cost • Containment The Greater Adams Cave beetle in Kentucky is one of four Southeastern species covered under a CCAA.
24 Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances 1 2** 2 * 1 4*** 1* ~ 1 1 1 1* 2 1 1 1* 1* 1 *=Programmatic Agreement 1* As of today, only 1 of the 40 species covered under a CCAA has been listed under the ESA.
Robust Redhorse CCAA Signed in 2002 by USFWS, Georgia DNR, and Georgia Power. The species has not required Federal listing.
CCAAs in the works • Spring pygmy sunfish: Belle Mina Farm Ltd., Alabama • Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA)/CCAA for 3 listed and 24 candidate species: Arkansas, TNC and NRCS • SHA/CCAA for several longleaf pine dependant species in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi • Panama City crayfish: The St. Joe Company, Florida Black pine snake - Bill Finch, TNC Panama City crayfish - Ed Keppner
Benefits • Identified threats are reduced or removed • Conserved now, possibly before an ESA listing is necessary • Cost effective way to conserve species • Assurances for landowners • Many species already a priority for states & other stakeholders Spring pygmy sunfish Florida bonneted bat
Additional Conservation Agreements/Actions to Address Threats • Land acquisition • Partners for Fish and Wildlife agreements • Conservation easements • Department of Agriculture programs • Conservation banks • State & NGO agreements • Dept. of Energy & Defense programs • Changes in management regimes (e.g., flows) • State & local laws/ ordinances
Questions? For more information visit: www.fws.gov/endangered or http://www.fws.gov/endangered/improving_ESA /listing_workplan.html Rob Tawes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Office 1875 Century Boulevard Atlanta, GA 404/679-7142 email@example.com www.fws.gov/southeast