Public Policy

Request for Interpretation of Federal Policy Change

January 27, 2011
Request for Interpretation of Proposed Policy Change  

The United States Fish and Wildlife Services and National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Ocianic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries) have proposed changes to federal listed species policies regarding impacts to the habitats of listed species that may involve a "significant portion" of the range of the affected species.  This applicability of this change to the ranges of rare plants is unclear.  FNPS has sent a letter to the USFWS regarding the potential impact that the proposed policy interpretation may have on rare plants and the unique situations presented by disjunct plant populations. Specifically, our questions concern (1) determining the “range” of disjunct plant populations, (2) the need for genetic data (biological basis) in determining “significance,” (3) the potential impact of climate change on “range” considerations, and (4) request for tables, charts or other visual aids.

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Types of Issues Addressed by FNPS

  • General areas considered to be of statewide FNPS significance
  • Any Florida legislative action that affects our state environmental land acquisition program known as Florida Forever, which includes Florida Communities Trust and/or any other state agency funded through Florida Forever (DEP). This includes, but is not limited to, any legislation affecting funding of the program. It also includes the urgent need to fund the Florida Forever program.
  • All state and local land acquisition efforts for preservation and conservation.
  • Any statewide policy changes that enhance improve or further natural resource system protection within recognized preserves and/or reserve or state park refuge.
  • Development issues that are regional or have statewide significance in that they affect a change in Florida policy towards land acquisition, natural resource systems or waters of the state, but only if the issue clearly relates to the FNPS mission to preserve, conserve and restore native plants and native plant communities.
  • Any state legislative, state agency or state university action that would affect the viability (or lack thereof) of native plants and native plant communities. This includes, but is not limited to, state policy on exotic invasive species, water conservation, listed plant species, and cataloging of native plant communities.

General areas considered not to be of statewide significance include

  • Issues that are primarily related to managing the way a local jurisdiction grows or the methods it uses to plan growth. Unless it can be shown to meet criteria number four in the previous section.
  • Issues that are primarily transportation related unless the issue is of at least regional significance and would impact an established preserve/reserve/state park refuge/or a functional ecologically sensitive ecosystem.
  • Issues that involve local jurisdictional ordinances or land development codes.