50 CFR § 17.81 - Listing.

§ 17.81 Listing.

(a) The Secretary may designate as an experimental population a population of endangered or threatened species that will be released into habitat that is capable of supporting the experimental population outside the species' current range, subject to the further conditions specified in this section, provided that all designations of experimental populations must proceed by regulation adopted in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553 and the requirements of this subpart.

(b) Before authorizing the release as an experimental population of any population (including eggs, propagules, or individuals) of an endangered or threatened species, and before authorizing any necessary transportation to conduct the release, the Secretary must find by regulation that such release will further the conservation of the species. In making such a finding, the Secretary will use the best scientific and commercial data available to consider:

(1) Any possible adverse effects on extant populations of a species as a result of removal of individuals, eggs, or propagules for introduction elsewhere;

(2) The likelihood that any such experimental population will become established and survive in the foreseeable future;

(3) The relative effects that establishment of an experimental population will have on the recovery of the species;

(4) The extent to which the introduced experimental population may be affected by existing or anticipated Federal or State actions or private activities within or adjacent to the experimental population area; and

(5) When an experimental population is being established outside of its historical range, any possible adverse effects to the ecosystem that may result from the experimental population being established.

(c) Any regulation promulgated under paragraph (a) of this section shall provide:

(1) Appropriate means to identify the experimental population, including, but not limited to, its actual or proposed location, actual or anticipated migration, number of specimens released or to be released, and other criteria appropriate to identify the experimental population(s);

(2) A finding, based solely on the best scientific and commercial data available, and the supporting factual basis, on whether the experimental population is, or is not, essential to the continued existence of the species in the wild;

(3) Management restrictions, protective measures, or other special management concerns of that population, as appropriate, which may include but are not limited to, measures to isolate, remove, and/or contain the experimental population designated in the regulation from nonexperimental populations; and

(4) A process for periodic review and evaluation of the success or failure of the release and the effect of the release on the conservation and recovery of the species.

(d) The Secretary may issue a permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act, if appropriate under the standards set out in sections 10(d) and 10(j) of the Act, to allow actions necessary for the establishment and maintenance of an experimental population.

(e) The Service will consult with appropriate State fish and wildlife agencies, affected Tribal governments, local governmental agencies, affected Federal agencies, and affected private landowners in developing and implementing experimental population rules. When appropriate, a public meeting will be conducted with interested members of the public. Any regulation promulgated pursuant to this section will, to the maximum extent practicable, represent an agreement between the Service, the affected State and Federal agencies, Tribal governments, local government agencies, and persons holding any interest in land or water that may be affected by the establishment of an experimental population.

(f) Any population of an endangered species or a threatened species determined by the Secretary to be an experimental population in accordance with this subpart will be identified by a species-specific rule in §§ 17.84 and 17.85 as appropriate and separately listed in § 17.11(h) (wildlife) or § 17.12(h) (plants) as appropriate.

(g) The Secretary may designate critical habitat as defined in section (3)(5)(A) of the Act for an essential experimental population as determined pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of this section. Any designation of critical habitat for an essential experimental population will be made in accordance with section 4 of the Act. No designation of critical habitat will be made for nonessential experimental populations.

[49 FR 33893, Aug. 27, 1984, as amended at 88 FR 42651, July 3, 2023]