Multistate Conservation Grant Program; Fiscal Year 2016 Priority List and Approval for Award of the Conservation Projects
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 priority list of wildlife and sport fish conservation projects from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). As required by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs Improvement Act of 2000, AFWA submits a list of projects to us each year to consider for funding under the Multistate Conservation Grant Program. We reviewed the list and have awarded all the grants from the list.
Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitat; Implementing Changes to the Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively referred to as the ``Services'' or ``we''), amend portions of our regulations that implement the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The revised regulations clarify, interpret, and implement portions of the Act concerning the procedures and criteria used for adding species to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants and designating and revising critical habitat. Specifically, the amendments make minor edits to the scope and purpose, add and remove some definitions, and clarify the criteria and procedures for designating critical habitat. These amendments are based on the Services' review of the regulations and are intended to clarify expectations regarding critical habitat and provide for a more predictable and transparent critical habitat designation process. Finally, the amendments are also part of the Services' response to Executive Order 13563 (January 18, 2011), which directs agencies to review their existing regulations and, among other things, modify or streamline them in accordance with what has been learned.
Policy Regarding Implementation of Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species Act
We, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, (jointly, the ``Services'') announce our final policy on exclusions from critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act. This non-binding policy provides the Services' position on how we consider partnerships and conservation plans, conservation plans permitted under section 10 of the Act, Tribal lands, national-security and homeland-security impacts and military lands, Federal lands, and economic impacts in the exclusion process. This policy complements our implementing regulations regarding impact analyses of critical habitat designations and is intended to clarify expectations regarding critical habitat and provide for a more predictable and transparent critical- habitat-exclusion process.
Interagency Cooperation-Endangered Species Act of 1973, as Amended; Definition of Destruction or Adverse Modification of Critical Habitat
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), collectively referred to as the ``Services'' or ``we,'' revise a regulatory definition that is integral to our implementation of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act or ESA). The Act requires Federal agencies, in consultation with and with the assistance of the Services, to insure that their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of such species. On May 12, 2014, we proposed to revise the definition for ``destruction or adverse modification'' in our regulations as this definition had been found to be invalid by two circuit courts. In response to public comments received on our proposed rule, we have made minor revisions to the definition. This rule responds to section 6 of Executive Order 13563 (January 18, 2011), which directs agencies to analyze their existing regulations and, among other things, modify or streamline them in accordance with what has been learned.
Revision of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) Contest Regulations
We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to revise the regulations governing the annual Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Contest (also known as the Federal Duck Stamp Contest (contest)). Our amendments would update our contact information; update common names and spelling of species on our list of contest design subjects; correct minor grammar errors; and specify the requirement to include a second, appropriate, migratory bird species in the artwork design beginning with the 2016 contest.