A picture is not just worth a thousand words, it’s also a lot less expensive to publish in the Federal Register.
And, it’s easier on the eyes.
It’s hard to argue with the logic of a proposal to be published tomorrow (May 1) by the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service. The agencies said the new process for critical habitat proposals, final designations and boundary changes will be “more efficient [and] less complex.”
“Previously, when the agencies designated or revised critical habitat for ESA-protected species, they were required to describe, in text, the boundaries of the designation for the Federal Register, in addition to using visual methods such as maps,” FWS and NMFS said in a news release issued today. “These textual descriptions often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to publish and can be difficult to interpret and understand.”
In the proposal, the agencies said FWS spent $1.97 million in fiscal years 2008-2010 to publish critical habitat designations in the FR. “If we estimate that 50 percent of those costs are spent on the publication of the textual descriptions of the boundaries,” then not publishing those descriptions will save nearly $328,000 per year. Adding that to the cost of reprinting those same CH designations in the Code of Federal Regulations equals $391,742 per year in savings, the agencies said.
Thus, eliminating the need to publish latitude-longitude coordinates, UTM coordinate pairs or other detailed textual descriptions in the Federal Register and CFR would result in a significant cost savings to the services and the public as a whole.
So, no longer will readers be forced to thumb (or scroll) past edifying descriptions like this one:
Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 18, NAD 83 coordinates (E,N): 733143, 99288; 733053, 99268; 733055, 99291; 733065, 99309; 733055, 99320; 733048, 99344; 733053, 99364; 733090, 99377; 733140, 99370; 733143, 99288.
Nothing else about critical habitat designations will change.
“The final joint rule . . . will not affect how the two agencies designate critical habitat under the ESA, or alter the criteria or methods used to evaluate areas for inclusion as critical habitat. The boundaries of critical habitat as mapped or otherwise described in the official rulemaking published in the Federal Register will remain the official delineation of the designation.”