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United States Regulations
50 CFR PART 424—LISTING ENDANGERED AND THREATENED SPECIES AND DESIGNATING CRITICAL HABITAT
Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 424—LISTING ENDANGERED AND THREATENED SPECIES AND DESIGNATING CRITICAL HABITAT
Authority: Pub. L. 93–205, 87 Stat. 884; Pub. L. 95–632, 92 Stat. 3751; Pub. L. 96–159, 93 Stat. 1225; Pub. L. 97–304, 96 Stat. 1411 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
Source: 49 FR 38908, Oct. 1, 1984, unless otherwise noted.
Subpart A—General Provisions
§ 424.01 Scope and purpose.
(a) Part 424 provides rules for revising the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants and, where appropriate, designating or revising their critical habitats. Criteria are provided for determining species to be endangered or threatened and for designating critical habitats. Procedures for receiving and considering petitions to revise the lists and for conducting periodic reviews of listed species also are established.
(b) The purpose of these rules is to interpret and implement those portions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), that pertain to the listing of species and the determination of critical habitats.
§ 424.02 Definitions.
(a) The definitions of terms in 50 CFR 402.02 shall apply to this part 424, except as otherwise stated.
(b) Candidate means any species being considered by the Secretary for listing as an endangered or a threatened species, but not yet the subject of a proposed rule.
(c) Conservation, conserve, and conserving mean to use and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring any endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated with scientific resources management such as research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise relieved, may include regulated taking.
(d) Critical habitat means (1) the specific areas within the geographical area currently occupied by a species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found those physical or biological features (i) essential to the conservation of the species and (ii) that may require special management considerations or protection, and (2) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed upon a determination by the Secretary that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species.
(e) Endangered species means a species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
(f) List or lists means the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants found at 50 CFR 17.11(h) or 17.12(h).
(g) Plant means any member of the plant kingdom, including, without limitation, seeds, roots, and other parts thereof.
(h) Public hearing means an informal hearing to provide the public with the opportunity to give comments and to permit an exchange of information and opinion on a proposed rule.
(i) Secretary means the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Commerce, as appropriate, or their authorized representatives.
(j) Special management considerations or protection means any methods or procedures useful in protecting physical and biological features of the environment for the conservation of listed species.
(k) Species includes any species or subspecies of fish, wildlife, or plant, and any distinct population segment of any vertebrate species that interbreeds when mature. Excluded is any species of the Class Insecta determined by the Secretary to constitute a pest whose protection under the provisions of the Act would present an overwhelming and overriding risk to man.
(l) State agency means any State agency, department, board, commission, or other governmental entity that is responsible for the management and conservation of fish, plant, or wildlife resources within a State.
(m) Threatened species means any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
(n) Wildlife or fish and wildlife means any member of the animal kingdom, including without limitation, any vertebrate, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod, or other invertebrate, and includes any part, product, egg, or offspring thereof, or the dead body or parts thereof.
Subpart B—Revision of the Lists
§ 424.10 General.
The Secretary may add a species to the lists or designate critical habitat, delete a species or critical habitat, change the listed status of a species, revise the boundary of an area designated as critical habitat, or adopt or modify special rules (see 50 CFR 17.40–17.48 and parts 222 and 227) applied to a threatened species only in accordance with the procedures of this part.
§ 424.11 Factors for listing, delisting, or reclassifying species.
(a) Any species or taxonomic group of species (e.g., genus, subgenus) as defined in §424.02(k) is eligible for listing under the Act. A taxon of higher rank than species may be listed only if all included species are individually found to be endangered or threatened. In determining whether a particular taxon or population is a species for the purposes of the Act, the Secretary shall rely on standard taxonomic distinctions and the biological expertise of the Department and the scientific community concerning the relevant taxonomic group.
(b) The Secretary shall make any determination required by paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section solely on the basis of the best available scientific and commercial information regarding a species' status, without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination.
(c) A species shall be listed or reclassified if the Secretary determines, on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available after conducting a review of the species' status, that the species is endangered or threatened because of any one or a combination of the following factors:
(1) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
(2) Over utilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
(3) Disease or predation;
(4) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
(5) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.
(d) The factors considered in delisting a species are those in paragraph (c) of this section as they relate to the definitions of endangered or threatened species. Such removal must be supported by the best scientific and commercial data available to the Secretary after conducting a review of the status of the species. A species may be delisted only if such data substantiate that it is neither endangered nor threatened for one or more of the following reasons:
(1) Extinction. Unless all individuals of the listed species had been previously identified and located, and were later found to be extirpated from their previous range, a sufficient period of time must be allowed before delisting to indicate clearly that the species is extinct.
(2) Recovery. The principal goal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service is to return listed species to a point at which protection under the Act is no longer required. A species may be delisted on the basis of recovery only if the best scientific and commercial data available indicate that it is no longer endangered or threatened.
(3) Original data for classification in error. Subsequent investigations may show that the best scientific or commercial data available when the species was listed, or the interpretation of such data, were in error.
(e) The fact that a species of fish, wildlife, or plant is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (see part 23 of this title 50) or a similar international agreement on such species, or has been identified as requiring protection from unrestricted commerce by any foreign nation, or to be in danger of extinction or likely to become so within the foreseeable future by any State agency or by any agency of a foreign nation that is responsible for the conservation of fish, wildlife, or plants, may constitute evidence that the species is endangered or threatened. The weight given such evidence will vary depending on the international agreement in question, the criteria pursuant to which the species is eligible for protection under such authorities, and the degree of protection afforded the species. The Secretary shall give consideration to any species protected under such an international agreement, or by any State or foreign nation, to determine whether the species is endangered or threatened.
(f) The Secretary shall take into account, in making determinations under paragraph (c) or (d) of this section, those efforts, if any, being made by any State or foreign nation, or any political subdivision of a State or foreign nation, to protect such species, whether by predator control, protection of habitat and food supply, or other conservation practices, within any area under its jurisdiction, or on the high seas.
§ 424.12 Criteria for designating critical habitat.
(a) Critical habitat shall be specified to the maximum extent prudent and determinable at the time a species is proposed for listing. If designation of critical habitat is not prudent or if critical habitat is not determinable, the reasons for not designating critical habitat will be stated in the publication of proposed and final rules listing a species. A final designation of critical habitat shall be made on the basis of the best scientific data available, after taking into consideration the probable economic and other impacts of making such a designation in accordance with §424.19.
(1) A designation of critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of the following situations exist:
(i) The species is threatened by taking or other human activity, and identification of critical habitat can be expected to increase the degree of such threat to the species, or
(ii) Such designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to the species.
(2) Critical habitat is not determinable when one or both of the following situations exist:
(i) Information sufficient to perform required analyses of the impacts of the designation is lacking, or
(ii) The biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well known to permit identification of an area as critical habitat.
(b) In determining what areas are critical habitat, the Secretary shall consider those physical and biological features that are essential to the conservation of a given species and that may require special management considerations or protection. Such requirements include, but are not limited to the following:
(1) Space for individual and population growth, and for normal behavior;
(2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements;
(3) Cover or shelter;
(4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, rearing of offspring, germination, or seed dispersal; and generally;
(5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are representative of the historic geographical and ecological distributions of a species.
When considering the designation of critical habitat, the Secretary shall focus on the principal biological or physical constituent elements within the defined area that are essential to the conservation of the species. Known primary constituent elements shall be listed with the critical habitat description. Primary constituent elements may include, but are not limited to, the following: roost sites, nesting grounds, spawning sites, feeding sites, seasonal wetland or dryland, water quality or quantity, host species or plant pollinator, geological formation, vegetation type, tide, and specific soil types.
(c) Each critical habitat will be defined by specific limits using reference points and lines as found on standard topographic maps of the area. Each area will be referenced to the State(s), county(ies), or other local governmental units within which all or part of the critical habitat is located. Unless otherwise indicated within the critical habitat descriptions, the names of the State(s) and county(ies) are provided for information only and do not constitute the boundaries of the area. Ephemeral reference points (e.g., trees, sand bars) shall not be used in defining critical habitat.
(d) When several habitats, each satisfying the requirements for designation as critical habitat, are located in proximity to one another, an inclusive area may be designated as critical habitat.
Example: Several dozen or more small ponds, lakes, and springs are found in a small local area. The entire area could be designated critical habitat if it were concluded that the upland areas were essential to the conservation of an aquatic species located in the ponds and lakes.
(e) The Secretary shall designate as critical habitat areas outside the geographical area presently occupied by a species only when a designation limited to its present range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species.
(f) Critical habitat may be designated for those species listed as threatened or endangered but for which no critical habitat has been previously designated.
(g) Existing critical habitat may be revised according to procedures in this section as new data become available to the Secretary.
(h) Critical habitat shall not be designated within foreign countries or in other areas outside of United States jurisdiction.
§ 424.13 Sources of information and relevant data.
When considering any revision of the lists, the Secretary shall consult as appropriate with affected States, interested persons and organizations, other affected Federal agencies, and, in cooperation with the Secretary of State, with the country or countries in which the species concerned are normally found or whose citizens harvest such species from the high seas. Data reviewed by the Secretary may include, but are not limited to scientific or commercial publications, administrative reports, maps or other graphic materials, information received from experts on the subject, and comments from interested parties.
§ 424.14 Petitions.
(a) General. Any interested person may submit a written petition to the Secretary requesting that one of the actions described in §424.10 be taken. Such a document must clearly identify itself as a petition and be dated. It must contain the name, signature, address, telephone number, if any, and the association, institution, or business affiliation, if any, of the petitioner. The Secretary shall acknowledge in writing receipt of such a petition within 30 days.
(b) Petitions to list, delist, or reclassify species. (1) To the maximum extent practicable, within 90 days of receiving a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species, the Secretary shall make a finding as to whether the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. For the purposes of this section, “substantial information” is that amount of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the measure proposed in the petition may be warranted. The Secretary shall promptly publish such finding in the Federal Register and so notify the petitioner.
(2) In making a finding under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the Secretary shall consider whether such petition—
(i) Clearly indicates the administrative measure recommended and gives the scientific and any common name of the species involved;
(ii) Contains detailed narrative justification for the recommended measure, describing, based on available information, past and present numbers and distribution of the species involved and any threats faced by the species;
(iii) Provides information regarding the status of the species over all or a significant portion of its range; and
(iv) Is accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation in the form of bibliographic references, reprints of pertinent publications, copies of reports or letters from authorities, and maps.
The petitioner may provide information that describes any recommended critical habitat as to boundaries and physical features, and indicates any benefits and/or adverse effects on the species that would result from such designation. Such information, however, will not be a basis for the determination of the substantiality of a petition.
(3) Upon making a positive finding under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the Secretary shall commence a review of the status of the species concerned and shall make, within 12 months of receipt of such petition, one of the following findings:
(i) The petitioned action is not warranted, in which case the Secretary shall promptly publish such finding in the Federal Register and so notify the petitioner.
(ii) The petitioned action is warranted, in which case the Secretary shall promptly publish in the Federal Register a proposed regulation to implement the action pursuant to §424.16 of this part, or
(iii) The petitioned action is warranted, but that—
(A) The immediate proposal and timely promulgation of a regulation to implement the petitioned action is precluded because of other pending proposals to list, delist, or reclassify species, and
(B) Expeditious progress is being made to list, delist, or reclassify qualified species,
in which case, such finding shall be promptly published in the Federal Register together with a description and evaluation of the reasons and data on which the finding is based.
(4) If a finding is made under paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section with regard to any petition, the Secretary shall, within 12 months of such finding, again make one of the findings described in paragraph (b)(3) with regard to such petition, but no further finding of substantial information will be required.
(c) Petitions to revise critical habitat. (1) To the maximum extent practicable, within 90 days of receiving a petition to revise a critical habitat designation, the Secretary shall make a finding as to whether the petition presents substantial scienific information indicating that the revision may be warranted. The Secretary shall promptly publish such finding in the Federal Register and so notify the petitioner.
(2) In making the finding required by paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the Secretary shall consider whether a petition contains—
(i) Information indicating that areas petitioned to be added to critical habitat contain physical and biological features essential to, and that may require special management to provide for, the conservation of the species involved; or
(ii) Information indicating that areas designated as critical habitat do not contain resources essential to, or do not require special management to provide for, the conservation of the species involved.
(3) Within 12 months after receiving a petition found under paragraph (c)(1) of this section to present substantial information indicating that revision of a critical habitat may be warranted, the Secretary shall determine how he intends to proceed with the requested revision, and shall promptly publish notice of such intention in the Federal Register.
(d) Petitions to designate critical habitat or adopt special rules. Upon receiving a petition to designate critical habitat or to adopt a special rule to provide for the conservation of a species, the Secretary shall promptly conduct a review in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) and applicable Departmental regulations, and take appropriate action.
§ 424.15 Notices of review.
(a) If the Secretary finds that one of the actions described in §424.10 may be warranted, but that the available evidence is not sufficiently definitive to justify proposing the action at that time, a notice of review may be published in the Federal Register. The notice will describe the measure under consideration, briefly explain the reasons for considering the action, and solicit comments and additional information on the action under consideration.
(b) The Secretary from time to time also may publish notices of review containing the names of species that are considered to be candidates for listing under the Act and indicating whether sufficient scientific or commercial information is then available to warrant proposing to list such species, the names of species no longer being considered for listing, or the names of listed species being considered for delisting or reclassification. However, none of the substantive or procedural provisions of the Act apply to a species that is designated as a candidate for listing.
(c) Such notices of review will invite comment from all interested parties regarding the status of the species named. At the time of publication of such a notice, notification in writing will be sent to State agencies in any affected States, known affected Federal agencies, and, to the greatest extent practicable, through the Secretary of State, to the governments of any foreign countries in which the subject species normally occur.
§ 424.16 Proposed rules.
(a) General. Based on the information received through §§424.13, 424.14, 424.15, and 424.21, or through other available avenues, the Secretary may propose revising the lists as described in §424.10.
(b) Contents. A notice of a proposed rule to carry out one of the actions described in §424.10 shall contain the complete text of the proposed rule, a summary of the data on which the proposal is based (including, as appropriate, citation of pertinent information sources), and shall show the relationship of such data to the rule proposed. If such a rule designates or revises critical habitat, such summary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, include a brief description and evaluation of those activities (whether public or private) that, in the opinion of the Secretary, if undertaken, may adversely modify such habitat, or may be affected by such designation. Any proposed rule to designate or revise critical habitat shall contain a map of such habitat. Any such notice proposing the listing, delisting, or reclassification of a species or the designation or revision of critical habitat shall also include a summary of factors affecting the species and/or critical habitat.
(c) Procedures—(1) Notifications. In the case of any proposed rule to list, delist, or reclassify a species, or to designate or revise critical habitat, the Secretary shall—
(i) Publish notice of the proposal in the Federal Register;
(ii) Give actual notice of the proposed regulation (including the complete text of the regulation) to the State agency in each State in which the species is believed to occur, and to each county or equivalent jurisdiction therein in which the species is believed to occur, and invite the comment of each such agency and jurisdiction;
(iii) Give notice of the proposed regulation to any Federal agencies, local authorities, or private individuals or organizations known to be affected by the rule;
(iv) Insofar as practical, and in cooperation with the Secretary of State, give notice of the proposed regulation to list, delist, or reclassify a species to each foreign nation in which the species is believed to occur or whose citizens harvest the species on the high seas, and invite the comment of such nation;
(v) Give notice of the proposed regulation to such professional scientific organizations as the Secretary deems appropriate; and
(vi) Publish a summary of the proposed regulation in a newspaper of general circulation in each area of the United States in which the species is believed to occur.
(2) Period of public comments. At least 60 days shall be allowed for public comment following publication in the Federal Register of a rule proposing the listing, delisting, or reclassification of a species, or the designation or revision of critical habitat. All other proposed rules shall be subject to a comment period of at least 30 days following publication in the Federal Register. The Secretary may extend or reopen the period for public comment on a proposed rule upon a finding that there is good cause to do so. A notice of any such extension or reopening shall be published in the Federal Register, and shall specify the basis for so doing.
(3) Public hearings. The Secretary shall promptly hold at least one public hearing if any person so requests within 45 days of publication of a proposed regulation to list, delist, or reclassify a species, or to designate or revise critical habitat. Notice of the location and time of any such hearing shall be published in the Federal Register not less than 15 days before the hearing is held.
§ 424.17 Time limits and required actions.
(a) General. (1) Within 1 year of the publication of a rule proposing to determine whether a species is an endangered or threatened species, or to designate or revise critical habitat, the Secretary shall publish one of the following in the Federal Register:
(i) A final rule to implement such determination or revision,
(ii) A finding that such revision should not be made,
(iii) A notice withdrawing the proposed rule upon a finding that available evidence does not justify the action proposed by the rule, or
(iv) A notice extending such 1-year period by an additional period of not more than 6 months because there is substantial disagreement among scientists knowledgeable about the species concerned regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the available data relevant to the determination or revision concerned.
(2) If an extension is made under paragraph (a)(1)(iv) of this section, the Secretary shall, within the extended period, take one of the actions described in paragraphs (a)(1) (i), (ii), or (iii) of this section.
(3) If a proposed rule is withdrawn under paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section, the notice of withdrawal shall set forth the basis upon which the proposed rule has been found not to be supported by available evidence. The Secretary shall not again propose a rule withdrawn under such provision except on the basis of sufficient new information that warrants a reproposal.
(b) Critical habitat designations. A final rule designating critical habitat of an endangered or a threatened species shall to the extent permissible under §424.12 be published concurrently with the final rule listing such species, unless the Secretary deems that—
(1) It is essential to the conservation of such species that it be listed promptly; or
(2) Critical habitat of such species is not then determinable,
in which case, the Secretary, with respect to the proposed regulation to designate such habitat, may extend the 1-year period specified in paragraph (a) of this section by not more than one additional year. Not later than the close of such additional year the Secretary must publish a final regulation, based on such data as may be available at that time, designating, to the maximum extent prudent, such habitat.
§ 424.18 Final rules—general.
(a) Contents. A final rule promulgated to carry out the purposes of the Act will be published in the Federal Register. This publication will contain the complete text of the rule, a summary of the comments and recommendations received in response to the proposal (including applicable public hearings), summaries of the data on which the rule is based and the relationship of such data to the final rule, and a description of any conservation measures available under the rule. Publication of a final rule to list, delist, or reclassify a species or designate or revise critical habitat shall also provide a summary of factors affecting the species. A rule designating or revising critical habitat will also contain a description of the boundaries and a map of such habitat and will, to the maximum extent practicable, be accompanied by a brief description and evaluation of those activities (whether public or private) that might occur in the area and which, in the opinion of the Secretary, may adversly modify such habitat or be affected by such designation.
(b) Effective date. A final rule shall take effect—
(1) Not less than 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register, except as otherwise provided for good cause found and published with the rule; and
(2) Not less than 90 days after (i) publication in the Federal Register of the proposed rule, and (ii) actual notification of any affected State agencies and counties or equivalent jurisdictions in accordance with §424.16(c)(1)(ii).
(c) Disagreement with State agency. If a State agency, given notice of a proposed rule in accordance with §424.16(c)(1)(ii), submits comments disagreeing in whole or in part with a proposed rule, and the Secretary issues a final rule that is in conflict with such comments, or if the Secretary fails to adopt a regulation for which a State agency has made a petition in accordance with §424.14, the Secretary shall provide such agency with a written justification for the failure to adopt a rule consistent with the agency's comments or petition.
§ 424.19 Final rules—impact analysis of critical habitat.
The Secretary shall identify any significant activities that would either affect an area considered for designation as critical habitat or be likely to be affected by the designation, and shall, after proposing designation of such an area, consider the probable economic and other impacts of the designation upon proposed or ongoing activities. The Secretary may exclude any portion of such an area from the critical habitat if the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying the area as part of the critical habitat. The Secretary shall not exclude any such area if, based on the best scientific and commercial data available, he determines that the failure to designate that area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species concerned.
§ 424.20 Emergency rules.
(a) Sections 424.16, 424.17, 424.18, and 424.19 notwithstanding, the Secretary may at any time issue a regulation implementing any action described in §424.10 in regard to any emergency posing a significant risk to the well-being of a species of fish, wildlife, or plant. Such rules shall, at the discretion of the Secretary, take effect immediately on publication in the Federal Register. In the case of any such action that applies to a resident species, the Secretary shall give actual notice of such regulation to the State agency in each State in which such species is believed to occur. Publication in the Federal Register of such an emergency rule shall provide detailed reasons why the rule is necessary. An emergency rule shall cease to have force and effect after 240 days unless the procedures described in §§424.16, 424.17, 424.18, and 424.19 (as appropriate) have been complied with during that period.
(b) If at any time after issuing an emergency rule, the Secretary determines, on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available, that substantial evidence does not then exist to warrant such rule, it shall be withdrawn.
§ 424.21 Periodic review.
At least once every 5 years, the Secretary shall conduct a review of each listed species to determine whether it should be delisted or reclassified. Each such determination shall be made in accordance with §§424.11, 424.16, and 424.17 of this part, as appropriate. A notice announcing those species under active review will be published in the Federal Register. Notwithstanding this section's provisions, the Secretary may review the status of any species at any time based upon a petition (see §424.14) or upon other data available to the Service.