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Threatened & Endangered Species

New England Pollinator Partnership

Conserving Native Pollinators Benefits Producers across New England (including here in Vermont!)

Landowners in New England are invited to participate in the New England Pollinator Partnership (NEPP) to help restore populations of bumble bees and the monarch butterfly. Learn more here.

Endangered Species Act - Compliance in Conservation Planning


Indiana bats are endangered in VermontThe National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law on January 1, 1970. NEPA requires Federal agencies to be accountable to the public for the environmental impacts of their actions. The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has written regulations that establish the procedures NRCS and other Federal agencies must follow to meet NEPA requirements. These regulations require Federal agencies to follow a systematic process when a Federal action is proposed. Federally listed threatened and endangered species (T&E species), as well as state rare, T&E species and species of concern, fall in one of several categories NRCS must evaluate for impacts. To meet the requirements of NEPA and NRCS policy, NRCS planners will conduct an Environmental Evaluation to determine the potential effects of alternative solutions to resource problems for all planning activities and document the results of the evaluation on form NRCS-CPA-52, "Environmental Evaluation Worksheet" or State equivalent, including the appropriate finding.
 

In addition to NEPA, the NRCS has both the authority and the obligation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to protect and conserve plant and animal species listed or proposed for listing as endangered or threatened. Section 7(a)(1) of the ESA directs other Federal agencies to utilize their authorities to carry out programs for the conservation and recovery of federally listed threatened or endangered species. Section 7a(2) of the ESA requires NRCS, in consultation with and with the assistance of the Secretary of the Interior, to insure that its agency actions and activities do not jeopardize the continued existence of threatened and endangered species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of the species' critical habitat.


The Vermont NRCS has undertaken a programmatic consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to evaluate potential effects of conservation practices within the Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG). Conservation Practices are the NRCS' primary method for implementing conservation measures on the ground either through financial or technical assistance. Practices within the FOTG were evaluated by the FWS and NRCS and determined to have no effect, were not likely to adversely affect, might have a potential adverse effect, or a potential beneficial effect. Steps were identified to avoid adverse effects of conservation practices through certain practice requirements (e.g. timing) or other measures identified through the informal consultation process. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department Nongame and Natural Heritage Program personnel were instrumental in this consultation process including refining the Species Town List, habitats, and identification of practice measures to avoid adverse effects.
 

The result of this consultation is an efficient, streamlined process that meets NRCS requirements under ESA as well as provides an opportunity for further conservation of listed species. The FWS has concurred that our agreed to process, outlined in linked documents below, will have “no effect” or are “not likely to adversely affect” federally listed species in Vermont. When and if there are adverse effects that cannot be avoided, a formal consultation will be undertaken and will not be considered as part of this "not likely to adversely affect" determination by the FWS.
 


 Links:

Northeast Region Endangered Species Office - USFWS

Vermont Threatened and Endangered Species – Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department

Vermont NRCS ESA Compliance Documents - Section II of the electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG)  See the folder -- Threatened &Endangered Species