U.S. Interior, Commerce Dept.’s Issue Policy Clarifying ESA Definition

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) announced a new policy clarifying the meaning of the phrase “significant portion of its range” in the Endangered Species Act as applicable to ESA listing determinations.  The new policy takes effect on Thursday, July 31.

Under the new policy, FWS and NMFS can list a species as threatened or endangered throughout its range if the best available science shows that the species is threatened or endangered in a vital portion of that range, the loss of which would put the species as a whole at risk of extinction.