Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Implementing Regulations for Requirements To Publish Textual Descriptions of Boundaries of Critical Habitat
We (FWS and NMFS; also collectively referred to as the Services) propose to revise regulations related to publishing textual descriptions of proposed and final critical habitat boundaries in the Federal Register for codification in the Code of Federal Regulations. In the interest of making the process of designating critical habitat more user-friendly for affected parties, the public as a whole, and the Services, as well as more efficient and cost effective, we are proposing to maintain the publication of maps of proposed and final critical habitat designations, but make optional the inclusion of any textual description of the boundaries of the designation in the Federal Register for codification in the Code of Federal Regulations. The boundaries of critical habitat as mapped or otherwise described in the Regulation Promulgation section of a rulemaking that is published in the Federal Register will be the official delineation of the designation, and we will continue to provide the public with additional tools, such as interactive maps and additional descriptions, on the Services' Internet sites, Regulations.gov, and at local field offices that will represent the Service's interpretation of which areas are covered by the designation. We are undertaking this effort as part of the agencies' response to Executive Order 13563 (Jan. 18, 2011) directing agencies to review their existing regulations and, inter alia, to modify or streamline them in accordance with what has been learned.