The overall objective of the Service Applicant Conservation Program is to encourage the public to voluntarily develop and implement conservation plans for declining species before being included in the CSA. The benefits of such conservation measures can help to prevent a species from being listed, to make a species considered threatened and not at risk, or to accelerate the recovery of the species when it is listed. Candidate custody agreements with insurance are a conservation instrument that can contribute to this objective. While the services recognize that the actions of a single landowner generally do not contribute sufficiently to the conservation of the species to eliminate the need to list it, we also recognize that the collective outcome of conservation measures taken by many landowners may result in the above species or other benefits not needing to be mentioned. As a result, the service will conclude an agreement if we find that the conservation measures to be implemented address the most important future threats, both current and expected, which are under the control of the owner of the land and which result in net benefits for the conservation of the species covered and improve the status of the species covered. While some landowners are willing to manage their country in such a way as to use species proposed for the list, types of candidates, Start Printed Page 95171 or species that could be candidates in the near future or that could be proposed for inclusion on the list, most want some degree of regulatory certainty and assurances about possible future countries, Restrictions on the use of water or resources that may be imposed if the species is listed in the future. Our answer: the term ”status” in the definition of ”net conservation benefit” refers to the status of the population on the inscribed land. While the overall objective of the CCAA and the Service Application Program is to improve the status of the species as a whole, it would in most cases be unrealistic to expect a CCAA to significantly improve the status of the species as a whole (unless a single listed property contains the majority of a species` populations and habitat). Comment (28): One commenter requested that the reference to a ”current conservation strategy” be deleted, as it is vague and redundant, given that the Directive already states that CCAA measures will be based on ”best available scientific information”.
Another commenter asked the FWS to clarify what a conservation strategy is, whether it is formal documents that complement a CCAA or only components of a CCAA.