- What is it?
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA; 7 U.S.C. § 136, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.) was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a "consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation." The Act is administered by two federal agencies, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 50 CFR Part 21.12(d) & 22.
- What has the Army done?
The Army prepares an annual T&E report that summarizes data from a variety of sources including the T&E species portion of the Army Environmental Database - Environmental Quality (AEDB-EQ) system. The AEDB-EQ is one of the means by which installations report annually to the Department of the Army headquarters on a variety of natural resource and environmental issues. The report also includes information on SAR, migratory birds and much more.
The USAEC T&E and migratory bird team provides technical support and guidance to installations and Army Commands regarding Endangered Species Act (ESA), Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) conservation, management and compliance issues. We also scan the Federal Register for ESA, MBTA and BGEPA announcements to alert installations of proposed ESA listings/critical habitat designations and regulatory updates/changes that may affect mission activities.
- What does the Army have planned?
In fiscal year 2011, installations started entering specific data on Bald and Golden Eagle species in the Army Environmental Database - Environmental Quality (AEDB-EQ). This data will be transitioned to the Headquarters Army Environmental System (HQAES). This data helps the Army plan how to best comply with its obligations under BGEPA and perpetuate its role as an active and effective steward of public land while carrying out its military mission. Additionally, the data provides Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) with the necessary information for the Defense Environmental Program Annual Report to Congress (DEPARC).
- Why is this important?
BGEPA provides criminal penalties for persons who “take; possess; sell; purchase; barter; offer to sell, purchase or barter; transport; export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, or any part, nest or egg thereof.”
BGEPA defines “take” as pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest, or disturb. Disturb means to agitate or bother a bald or golden eagle to a degree that causes, or is likely to cause, based on the best scientific information available, (1) injury to an eagle, (2) a decrease in its productivity, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior, or (3) nest abandonment, by substantially interfering with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a Department of Agriculture agency, has provided conservation planning assistance since 1933. The agency's technical specialists assist land managers in areas such as reclamation, soils, biology, engineering, range management, agronomy, water quality and plant materials. NRCS assistance to the Army includes ecosystem planning, soil surveys, erosion inventories, watershed surveys, land restoration (using plant materials) and sediment reduction on range, training and maneuver areas. NRCS specialists also design, implement and oversee construction of erosion-control systems ranging from small stream crossings to installation-wide land rehabilitation and maintenance plans. Installations may work directly with NRCS field offices or arrange for on-site placement of an NRCS specialist.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), is a bureau within the Department of the Interior that conserves, protects and enhances fish and wildlife and their habitats. It provides technical assistance to the military under authority of the Sikes Act. Its major efforts of technical assistance relate to developing and implementing Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans, and relate to migratory birds, endangered species, certain marine mammals, freshwater and anadromous fish, national wildlife refuges, wetlands inventories, habitat conservation, environmental contaminants and training opportunities for natural resource managers.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), a Department of Agriculture agency, is responsible for conserving national forests and grasslands, and assists in the stewardship of forests that other federal, state and private landowners manage. USFS provides quality natural and cultural resource management expertise and assistance to the Army through an interagency agreement. Forest Service support includes integrated natural resources management plans, planning level surveys, cultural resources surveys, National Environmental Policy Act compliance, prescribed fire and fire suppression, forest inventory and timber sale preparation, access road and firebreak design, stream and riparian area restoration, fish and wildlife habitat management, cantonment forestry, integrated pest management and outdoor recreation. Several national forests provide mission-essential land to the Army through special-use permits.
- Read more about it:
Army Guidance on Critical Habitat — January 2006 (95.5kb PDF)
Draft Recovery Credit Guidance — November 2007