Critical Habitat

Hi- Here’s some news from AZ Game and Fish (below in italics) re: critical habitat and legal wrangling. Any opinions out there? Bill

Endangered Species Updates
July 24, 2007

On July 3, 2007, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne received from Forest Guardians a 60-day Notice of Intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over failure to designate critical habitat and develop a recovery plan for the jaguar. A 60-day notice is required under the citizen suit provision of the ESA prior to an actual lawsuit being filed; a potential plaintiff may or may not choose to file an actual lawsuit once the NOI “ripens” after 60 days. A copy of the NOI letter will be provided at the next Jaguar Conservation Team (JAGCT) meeting, on October 25, 2007, as an informational item. However, interested parties are reminded now that I am unaware of any change in the FWS’ position that designating critical habitat for the jaguar in the United States is not prudent (USFWS cannot designate critical habitat in a foreign country), and the JAGCT conservation work is its framework for jaguar conservation efforts in Arizona and New Mexico. Moreover, please recall that the JAGCT Scientific Advisory Group (JAGSAG) has advised JAGCT that from a science perspective habitat in United States is not critical to recovery of the jaguar on a rangewide basis. Persistence of jaguars in the Arizona-New Mexico borderlands is heavily dependent on jaguar population health and stability in northern Mexico, protection against unlawful killing in the U.S. and Mexico, and maintenance of movement corridors along the U.S.-Mexico borders. The quality and amount of potential jaguar habitat in the United States is simply not sufficient to support a viable (self-sustaining) population separate from Mexico. The JAGSAG includes several of the most preeminent jaguar scientists in the world, and their insights continue to help guide JAGCT.

7/26/07 Does anyone know if the critical habitat section of the ESA is usually applied this way? In other words does the rangewide status determine how habitat is designated? I’m just wondering if this is standard operating procedure or out of the ordinary.

7/27/07 Here’s an interesting pdf from the federal Fish and Wildlife Service.

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