Published since 1946
FWS Finalizes Revision of ESA 10(j) Regulations
On June 30, the Department of the Interior announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had finalized its revision of regulations under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act. The rule changes are intended to provide more flexibility for species recovery by allowing reintroduction of experimental populations outside the historical range. The Department states that the regulations are necessary given the “growing impacts from climate change and invasive species that cause habitats within species’ historical ranges to shift or become unsuitable.”
Reintroducing species of plants and animals back into areas where they have disappeared has been a regularly used technique in wildlife conservation for decades. The FWS has used the section 10(j) tool to advance the recovery of numerous listed species by designating populations as “experimental” to support collaborative reintroduction efforts with partners that foster species’ recovery. Updating this proven conservation tool will allow the FWS to keep pace with corresponding science, which has shown that climate change and invasive species are pushing plants and animals into completely new geographic areas for the habitat needed for their continued survival.
“At the time the original 10(j) regulations were established, the potential impact of climate change on species and their habitats was not fully realized, yet in the decades since have become even more dramatic,” said FWS Director Martha Williams. “These revisions will help prevent extinctions and support the recovery of imperiled species by allowing the Service and our partners to implement proactive, conservation-based species introductions to reduce the impacts of climate change and other threats such as invasive species.”