Going Through the Motions: Fish & Wildlife Service's Critical Habitat Moratorium

By: Heather Weiner


Critical habitat is an unused but potentially powerful tool to achieve recovery of endangered species. Unfortunately, none of the almost 180 species listed in the last 2 years has had its critical habitat identified or even proposed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is using every excuse to avoid designating and protecting critical habitat as intended by Congress. Service officials have come out of the closet and admitted that they have no intention of designating critical habitat, unless under court order. But even court orders may have limited influence since Service officials convinced Congress to limit funding for new listings and critical habitat designations. With adequate funding, enforcement, and good public relations, critical habitat designation could provide both public and private resource managers with the clear guidance needed to recover our nation's declining wildlife.


Heather Weiner is a policy analyst and attorney at Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund. She also co-chairs the National Endangered Species Coalition. Contact Heather at: Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, 1625 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Suite 702, Washington, DC 20036.

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