SCB criticizes proposed policy on Endangered Species Act’s “Significant Portion of Range” and offers alternative
Today, the Society for Conservation Biology submitted extensive comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service concerning the Services’ proposal to define and implement the U.S. Endangered Species Act’s phrase “significant portion of its range.” Because the U.S. Endangered Species Act allows the Services to list species as threatened or endangered based on threats “throughout all or a significant portion” of a species’ range, it is critically important that this definition be based on the best available science in order to effectively conserve biodiversity.
SCB outlined several areas where the Services’ draft policy appears to ignore key principles from the field of conservation biology. Most importantly, the policy appears to ignore the basic purpose of the ESA, which clearly envisions protecting declining species, and the ecosystems on which they depend, before they become threatened or endangered with extinction globally, and to restore such threatened species that have been extirpated from significant portions of their historic range.
SCB developed a detailed alternative to the Services’ proposed policy that would better reflect the intent and goals of the ESA and best practice in applyng conservation science to effect recovery of endangered and threatened species.
The full text of SCB comments can be found here.