U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to Designate Almost 740 Miles of Critical Habitat for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle

On March 25, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a proposed rule (pdf) to designate critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The proposed critical habitat includes almost 740 miles of coastline in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.  Photo by Strobilomyces at Océanopolis, Brest, France on 17th April 2006.

The loggerhead sea turtle includes nine distinct population segments (DPS), and the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS is currently listed as threatened (pdf) under the ESA.  The critical habitat designation would help protect foraging and nesting grounds for the species.  According to the Service, the proposed designation is limited to occupied habitat containing "the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species in the terrestrial environment."  Comments on the proposed designation must be submitted by May 24, 2013.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) joined the Service in listing the species in 2011.  NMFS is currently evaluating specific areas in the marine environment in order to issue a proposed rule designating in-water critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle later this year.

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    Katrina (Diaz) Wu is an eminent domain and real estate litigation attorney focusing primarily on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, tort, regulatory takings, and real estate and business valuation matters.  Katrina also ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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