Lynx habitat proposal extended
by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service media release
May 8, 2008
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expects to release by July 2008 a draft economic analysis that will estimate the potential costs for conservation actions associated with the proposal to revise the amount of critical habitat designated under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the federally threatened Canada lynx. At that time, the Service will also reopen the public comment period on the proposed revised critical habitat rule. The new 30-day comment period will give interested parties an opportunity to comment on the draft economic analysis as well as provide information pertinent to the critical habitat proposal.
Public hearings requested during the initial public comment period will be conducted during the reopened public comment period. The dates, times, and places of those hearings will be announced in the Federal Register and local newspapers at least 15 days before the first hearing.
In total, the Service is proposing to designate approximately 42,753 square miles of habitat in portions of northern Maine, northeastern Minnesota, the Northern Rocky Mountains (northwestern Montana and northeastern Idaho), the Northern Cascades (north-central Washington), and the Greater Yellowstone Area (southwestern Montana and northwestern Wyoming).
Critical habitat, under the ESA includes the specific areas within the range of the species that contain physical or biological features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and that may require special management or protection. The designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or other conservation area. It does not allow government or public access to private lands. Federal agencies are required to consult with the Service on actions they carry out, fund or authorize that might affect critical habitat.
The Service listed the contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of Canada lynx in 2000 as a threatened species under the ESA. The DPS includes forested portions of 14 States. Critical habitat for the Canada lynx was initially designated on November 8, 2006, and the proposed revision to that critical habitat designation was published on February 28, 2008.