The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is accepting public comment on a revised regulatory proposal to strengthen protections for threatened and endangered wildlife in New York.
The proposal promotes sharing information between landowners and DEC staff during permit reviews for projects on lands where endangered or threatened species may be located, helping improve the pace of permit decisions and to better avoid negative impacts to vulnerable wildlife populations.
Identifying and addressing potential impacts to endangered and threatened species and their habitats early in the project planning process is the most successful way to avoid harmful effects on these critical species during construction and site development according to DEC.
The proposed changes in the revised regulations are expected to help prevent project delays and expedite DEC’s application process by better clarifying criteria needed to determine whether endangered and threatened species are present on a property, and also enhances DEC’s ability to undertake protected species restoration efforts with cooperating landowners, among other changes.
The proposed regulations clarify what permit applicants must provide to DEC when seeking a decision on whether a project located where endangered or threatened species are living could result in impacts to these species. Since first proposed in 2019, DEC revised the proposal to better clarify ongoing federal authority in protecting listed endangered and threatened species.
Also, the proposed regulation revisions allow DEC to establish an experimental population outside the current range for any endangered or threatened species to help enable its recovery. Experimental populations are created by the intentional release of a listed species in an effort to increase their numbers. The regulation revision would enable restoration efforts in protected lands such as Wildlife Management Areas or State Forests without placing a regulatory burden on adjacent property owners. DEC will post proposed experimental population designations for public review and will not remove any species protections already in place.
The revised regulatory proposal is titled “Part 182, Clarifying determination of jurisdiction under the Endangered and Threatened Fish and Wildlife regulations” and is available at DEC’s website. Written comments will be accepted through close of business on Nov. 16, 2020 to: Dan Rosenblatt, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or e-mail comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org; subject line “Endangered Species Regulation.”
DEC also continues to evaluate public comments received from a preproposal to revise the current list of endangered and threatened species and will develop a regulatory proposal based on the feedback received.
Photo of Shortnose Sturgeon, an endangered species in New York State, provided by U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.