SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or USFWS), announce the final Endangered Species Act (ESA) Compensatory Mitigation Policy. The new policy steps down and implements recent Executive Office, Department of the Interior, and Service mitigation policies that reflect a shift from project-by-project to landscape-scale approaches to planning and implementing compensatory mitigation.
The new policy is established to improve consistency and effectiveness in the use of compensatory mitigation as recommended or required under the ESA. The ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy covers permittee-responsible mitigation, conservation banking, in-lieu fee programs, and other third-party mitigation mechanisms, and stresses the need to hold all compensatory mitigation mechanisms to equivalent and effective standards.
DATES: This policy is effective on December 27, 2016.