Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House amended (11/19/2004)

Critical Habitat Reform Act of 2004 - (Sec. 2) Amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) to require the relevant Secretary (the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Commerce), to the maximum extent practicable, prudent, and determinable, to issue a final regulation designating critical habitat of endangered or threatened species within one year after final approval of a recovery plan for the species or three years after publication of the final regulation implementing the endangered or threatened species determination, whichever is earlier.

Requires the Secretary to reconsider any determination that designation of critical habitat of a species is not practicable or determinable during the next five-year review of endangered or threatened species or at the time of final approval of a recovery plan for the species.

Authorizes the Secretary to revise any designation of critical habitat.

Prohibits any designation of an area as critical habitat from applying with respect to actions authorized by: (1) a permit under ESA provisions authorizing the otherwise prohibited taking of listed species in certain circumstances where a habitat conservation plan has been submitted; (2) a written statement issued by the Secretary pursuant to a Federal agency consultation process; or (3) a land conservation or species management program of a State, Federal agency, federally recognized Indian tribe within the contiguous 48 States, or the Metlakatla Indian Community that the Secretary determines provides habitat protection substantially equivalent to the protection that would be provided by species designation.

(Sec. 3) Directs the Secretary, in determining whether an area is critical habit, to seek and consider information from State and local governments in the vicinity of the area, including local resource data and maps.

Specifies factors for consideration regarding the economic impact of critical habitat designation, including changes in revenues and costs associated with preparing reports, surveys, and analyses.

Requires the Secretary, in making such a designation, to first consider all areas known to be within the geographical area occupied by the species as determined by field survey data.

(Sec. 4) Modifies the contents of the required notice of proposed designation of critical habit to include any municipality having administrative jurisdiction over the area in which the species is believed to occur.

Requires the Secretary, with respect to a regulation to designate or revise a designation of critical habitat, to: (1) publish and maintain, on a publicly accessible Internet page of the relevant Department (Interior or Commerce), maps, coordinates, and field survey data of the area; and (2) include in such notice a reference to the Internet page.

(Sec. 5) Redefines "critical habitat" to mean those specific areas: (1) within the geographical area determined by field survey data to be occupied by the species at the time of critical habitat designation, on which are found those physical and biological features necessary to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of (currently, essential to the conservation of) the species and which may require special management considerations or protections; and (2) areas not within such geographical area but essential for the survival of the species.