‘Habitat’ Definition Falls Short, Should Encompass Climate Change, Other Evolving Threats to Wildlife

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed definition for “habitat” under the Endangered Species Act falls short and fails to fully address climate change and the challenges facing wildlife today. The National Wildlife Federation urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revisit its proposed definition and better account for climate change, habitat fragmentation, and other challenges.

“American’s wildlife are in crisis with nearly one-third of all species at heightened risk of extinction. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s new definition falls short in failing to account for the challenges facing species, including climate change, habitat fragmentation and a lack of habitat connectivity,” said Laura Daniel Davis, chief of policy and advocacy at the National Wildlife Federation. “The agency clearly needs to rethink its approach to ensure it is applying the Endangered Species Act — our last line of defense for pulling species back from the brink — in a way that protects and conserves threatened and endangered wildlife from all of the serious threats they face.”

The agency’s proposed definition follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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