December 5, 2019

ESA Recovery Plans: Mandated, Needed, Necessary?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Lynx canadensis  Canada LynxI’ve been involved in business nearly my entire life. Most dealings with business have been in “micro” business and yet I learned decades ago that the ONLY way to be successful in business, or anything in life for that matter, was to have a plan.

Having said that, why does the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) not have a Recovery Plan for Canada lynx? As you will discover, this is just another example of why the Endangered Species Act needs to be either seriously amendment or ripped up and written all over again.

On March 3, 2000, the USFWS formally listed the Canada lynx as a “threatened” species in part or all of the following states: CO, ID, ME, MI, MN, MT, NH, NM, NY, OR, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY

Before I post that portion of the Endangered Species Act that spells out exactly, in a way where lawyers can have a field day with it, let me first say that a definite change to the ESA that is necessary is that NO species should be allowed to be listed in any category if it does not have a Recovery Plan with it – PERIOD.

[Sec. 4] (f)(1) RECOVERY PLANS.—The Secretary shall develop and implement plans (hereinafter in this subsection referred to as ‘‘recovery plans’’) for the conservation and survival of endangered species and threatened species listed pursuant to this section, unless he finds that such a plan will not promote the conservation of the species. The Secretary, in development and implementing recovery plans, shall, to the maximum extent practicable—

(A) give priority to those endangered species or threatened species, without regard to taxonomic classification, that are most likely to benefit from such plans, particularly those species that are, or may be, in conflict with construction or other development projects or other forms of economic activity;

(B) incorporate in each plan—

(i) a description of such site-specific management actions as may be necessary to achieve the plan’s goal for the conservation and survival of the species;

(ii) objective, measurable criteria which, when met, would result in a determination, in accordance with the provisions of this section, that the species be removed from the list; and

(iii) estimates of the time required and the cost to carry out those measures needed to achieve the plan’s goal and to achieve intermediate steps toward that goal.

(2) The Secretary, in developing and implementing recovery plans, may procure the services of appropriate public and private agencies and institutions and other qualified persons. Recovery teams appointed pursuant to this subsection shall not be subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

(3) The Secretary shall report every two years to the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate and the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries of the House of Representatives on the status of efforts to develop and implement recovery plans for all species listed pursuant to this section and on
the status of all species for which such plans have been developed.

(4) The Secretary shall, prior to final approval of a new or revised recovery plan, provide public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment on such plan. The Secretary shall consider all information presented during the public comment period prior to approval of the plan.

(5) Each Federal agency shall, prior to implementation of a new or revised recovery plan, consider all information presented during the public comment period under paragraph (4).

Sec. 4 (f)(1) states that the Secretary shall create and implement a recovery plan – well that is if he deems it necessary to protect and recover a species. The ESA must be a joke. Think about it for a minute. If a recovery plan was deemed not necessary for the protection and conservation of a species then why is it even listed to begin with? Either way, because the ESA was written for lawyers and not for the purpose of protecting and recovering endangered species, we now know that there doesn’t necessarily have to be a recovery plan.

However, early on in Section 4, 3(B) of the ESA, we know that the Secretary, must designate “critical habitat” at the same time any species is listed as “threatened” or “endangered.”

(3) The Secretary, by regulation promulgated in accordance with subsection (b) and to the maximum extent prudent and determinable—

(A) shall, concurrently with making a determination under paragraph (1) that a species is an endangered species or a threatened species, designate any habitat of such species which is then considered to be critical habitat; and

Fourteen years after the Canada lynx listing, a U.S. District Court in Montana ordered the USFWS to develop a timeline in which they are to create and implement a Recovery Plan for Canada lynx. That Court made the determination that the USFWS had no justifiable reason to not have a recovery plan. The ESA provides “flexibility” or deference, if you will, that allows the Secretary to not include critical habitat listing at the time of species listing but the Secretary must prove doing so would negatively affect the conservation of the Canada lynx. The Court said it couldn’t be proven.

According to the linked-to article just above, it states that according to the ESA there is no timeline to list critical habitat. I disagree. Above, the ESA clearly states that the Secretary: “Shall, concurrently with making a determination…that a species is an endangered or threatened species, designate any habitat…” Last time I checked, concurrently meant at the same time.

The USFWS also argues that it hasn’t been able to devise a Recovery Plan because of lawsuits involving the designation of critical habitat. If the law requires that critical habitat be designated at the same time that Canada lynx is listed as threatened, and no critical habitat has been designated, then why is the species listed as threatened? By law, it should have been delayed.

We also know that last January, the USFWS announced – and still without a plan – that it is going to be conducting a review to determine what to do about the Canada lynx listing, i.e. keep it as “threatened,” increase it to “endangered,” or remove the animal from the list altogether.

This is a very sad joke being perpetrated onto the American public. All of this reveals why the ESA doesn’t work. In the meantime, there is no plan for lynx recovery, there is no designated critical habitat in all areas and people are suffering economically because of an illegal protection with no plan to find an end.

Disgusting government bureaucracy geared to fattening the wallets of lawyers and environmental groups.

Share