Gov’t Posts 61 New Federal Regulations, Including 500-Page Rule to Protect ‘Critical Habitat’ of Flycatcher

By Penny Starr | January 4, 2013 | 1:03pm EST

Flycatcher chicks in the nest (Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey)

( – The federal government posted 61 new regulations in the Federal Register on Friday, including the Department of Interior’s 500-page document outlining a new rule to protect the southwestern willow flycatcher’s “critical habitat” in six states.

That small insect-eating bird’s habitat covers 1,227 miles of streams and 208,973 acres in California, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico, on “federal, state, tribal and private lands.”

The flycatcher’s habitat covers 37 counties in those six states, according to the rule posted at

“The effect of this regulation is to conserve the flycatcher's habitat under the Endangered Species Act,” the summary of the regulation states.

The rule includes hundreds of pages documenting the bird’s habits, including migration and breeding, as well as hundreds of comments.

It also specifies the “special management” that will be required to protect the bird’s habitat, including:

  • Groundwater and river flow management
  • Retain riparian vegetation in the floodplain
  • Manage grazing livestock and other wildlife that could damage the habitat
  • Limit “recreational impact”
  • Manage exotic plant species and improve native plant growth
  • Manage fire risk
  • Insect management

The rule goes into effect on Feb. 4.

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