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Impacts Analysis for Critical Habitat Designation for the Endangered U.S. Distinct Population Segment of Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata)
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    This report identifies and analyzes the impacts that may result from the proposed critical habitat designation for the U.S. distinct population segment (DPS) of smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that the Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) or the Department of Commerce (DOC) designate critical habitat for listed species based on the best scientific data available, after taking into consideration the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. We have determined that the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the smalltooth sawfish found within the specific areas proposed for designation (which constitute nursery areas for sawfish) consist of red mangroves and shallow euryhaline habitats. These features provide nursery area functions to sawfish, such as predator protection and abundant food resources, which will allow juvenile sawfish to recruit into the adult population. The two areas containing the essential features are comprised of a total of 840,472 acres on the southwest coast of Florida. The first area is the Charlotte Harbor Estuary Unit and the second area is the Ten Thousand Islands/Everglades (TTI/E) Unit.

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