Do I Have Critical Habitat on My Land?
As river corridors in Arizona can be important sanctuaries for wildlife, there are lands along the Gila River that have been designated as “critical habitat.” Critical habitats are lands designated by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as essential to the survival of federally listed threatened and endangered species.
Federal agencies are required to avoid ‘destruction’ or ‘adverse modification’ of these critical habitats when implementing federally funded and permitted activities. If no federal support or authorization is involved in the activities or land modifications that you want to conduct on your private land, critical habitat designations will not impact your ability to proceed.
However, critical habitat designation may indicate that a species protected by the ESA may reside on your property. If this is the case, any land modification, which adversely affects the listed species could qualify as a “take” of that species. In order to avoid liability for the accidental take of a listed species, an “Incidental Take Permit” (ITP), which authorizes the taking of a species incidental to otherwise lawful activity (such as real estate development), should be obtained from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) prior to project initiation.
The ESA also provides a second type of permit, which facilitates development of lands subject to ESA regulations. The Enhancement of Survival Permit (ESP) allows landowners to implement proactive conservation measures today, in exchange for guaranteed allowances of future development.
To see a complete list of all the threatened and endangered species in your area, check out the websites below:
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