FLA submitted comments on the Service’s proposal for a definition of the word “habitat” under the Endangered Species Act. The definition of “habitat” is likely to have far-reaching effects when it comes enforcing limits on the ESA’s reach, and future critical habitat decisions will be guided by the language the Service chooses to employ.

A review of the proposal showed the definition was much too broad and could encompass land that is not true habitat. Most scientists and professionals understand habitat to be the place where a species live. However, provisions of the ESA indicate that critical habitat can be designated in areas where a species does not live.

Based on our research and analysis, FLA filed comments strongly urging the Service to adopt a definition of “habitat” that would be supported by both science and the law, adhering as closely as possible to the scientific definition of habitat while accommodating the express terms of the ESA. Citing the history of the ESA, pertinent case law, and definitions from scientific publications, we proposed a revised definition that would be accepted and understood by ecologists, foresters, and natural resource professionals. Read FLA’s comments here.