U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Mitigation Policy

Approach supports improvements to clarify how the Service will support avoidance, minimization, and compensation for impacts to its trust resources.

ARLINGTON, VA  | December 02, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently released the final revisions to its Service-wide umbrella mitigation policy. This policy updates and replaces the agency’s 1981 mitigation policy.

“This policy represents an important step in the right direction for improving consistency and predictability in how the Service seeks to balance development with conservation across all of its authorities,” said Jessica Wilkinson, senior policy advisor for mitigation at The Nature Conservancy. “We applaud the Service for establishing a goal of achieving a net conservation gain or, at a minimum, a not net loss of species and their habitats through its application of its existing authorities. We believe that articulation of a clear goal supports a more structured and transparent framework for the agency to apply its authorities, thereby increasing project review efficiencies.”

“The final policy also lays out a set of principles and standards that apply across all of its authorities, including the Endangered Species Act, increasing consistency and predictability,” added Wilkinson. “Finally, we commend the Service for incorporating the landscape-scale approach into this policy. We believe that when mitigation decisions—avoidance, minimization, and mitigation—are applied in a landscape context and are guided by early planning, potential conflicts between conservation and development are reduced because developers know in advance what areas should be avoided or prioritized, and project review is more efficient because project proponents and agencies have already laid out clear expectations for mitigation.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Heather Layman
The Nature Conservancy


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