For the purposes of this chapter—
(1) The term "alternative courses of action" means all alternatives and thus is not limited to original project objectives and agency jurisdiction.
(2) The term "commercial activity" means all activities of industry and trade, including, but not limited to, the buying or selling of commodities and activities conducted for the purpose of facilitating such buying and selling: Provided, however, That it does not include exhibition of commodities by museums or similar cultural or historical organizations.
(3) The terms "conserve", "conserving", and "conservation" mean to use and the use of all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this chapter are no longer necessary. Such methods and procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated with scientific resources management such as research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise relieved, may include regulated taking.
(4) The term "Convention" means the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, signed on March 3, 1973, and the appendices thereto.
(5)(A) The term "critical habitat" for a threatened or endangered species means—
(i) the specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 1533 of this title, on which are found those physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation of the species and (II) which may require special management considerations or protection; and
(ii) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed in accordance with the provisions of section 1533 of this title, upon a determination by the Secretary that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species.
(B) Critical habitat may be established for those species now listed as threatened or endangered species for which no critical habitat has heretofore been established as set forth in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.
(C) Except in those circumstances determined by the Secretary, critical habitat shall not include the entire geographical area which can be occupied by the threatened or endangered species.
(6) The term "endangered species" means any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range other than a species of the Class Insecta determined by the Secretary to constitute a pest whose protection under the provisions of this chapter would present an overwhelming and overriding risk to man.
(7) The term "Federal agency" means any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States.
(8) The term "fish or wildlife" means any member of the animal kingdom, including without limitation any mammal, fish, bird (including any migratory, nonmigratory, or endangered bird for which protection is also afforded by treaty or other international agreement), amphibian, reptile, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod or other invertebrate, and includes any part, product, egg, or offspring thereof, or the dead body or parts thereof.
(9) The term "foreign commerce" includes, among other things, any transaction—
(A) between persons within one foreign country;
(B) between persons in two or more foreign countries;
(C) between a person within the United States and a person in a foreign country; or
(D) between persons within the United States, where the fish and wildlife in question are moving in any country or countries outside the United States.
(10) The term "import" means to land on, bring into, or introduce into, or attempt to land on, bring into, or introduce into, any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, whether or not such landing, bringing, or introduction constitutes an importation within the meaning of the customs laws of the United States.
(11) Repealed. Pub. L. 97–304, §4(b), Oct. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1420.
(12) The term "permit or license applicant" means, when used with respect to an action of a Federal agency for which exemption is sought under section 1536 of this title, any person whose application to such agency for a permit or license has been denied primarily because of the application of section 1536(a) of this title to such agency action.
(13) The term "person" means an individual, corporation, partnership, trust, association, or any other private entity; or any officer, employee, agent, department, or instrumentality of the Federal Government, of any State, municipality, or political subdivision of a State, or of any foreign government; any State, municipality, or political subdivision of a State; or any other entity subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
(14) The term "plant" means any member of the plant kingdom, including seeds, roots and other parts thereof.
(15) The term "Secretary" means, except as otherwise herein provided, the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Commerce as program responsibilities are vested pursuant to the provisions of Reorganization Plan Numbered 4 of 1970; except that with respect to the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and the Convention which pertain to the importation or exportation of terrestrial plants, the term also means the Secretary of Agriculture.
(16) The term "species" includes any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature.
(17) The term "State" means any of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.
(18) The term "State agency" means any State agency, department, board, commission, or other governmental entity which is responsible for the management and conservation of fish, plant, or wildlife resources within a State.
(19) The term "take" means to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.
(20) The term "threatened species" means any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
(21) The term "United States", when used in a geographical context, includes all States.
(Pub. L. 93–205, §3, Dec. 28, 1973, 87 Stat. 885; Pub. L. 94–359, §5, July 12, 1976, 90 Stat. 913; Pub. L. 95–632, §2, Nov. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 3751; Pub. L. 96–159, §2, Dec. 28, 1979, 93 Stat. 1225; Pub. L. 97–304, §4(b), Oct. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 1420; Pub. L. 100–478, title I, §1001, Oct. 7, 1988, 102 Stat. 2306.)
This chapter, referred to in text, was in the original "this Act", meaning Pub. L. 93–205, Dec. 28, 1973, 81 Stat. 884, known as the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1531 of this title and Tables.
Reorganization Plan Numbered 4 of 1970, referred to in par. (15), is Reorg. Plan No. 4 of 1970, eff. Oct. 3, 1970, 35 F.R. 15627, 84 Stat. 2090, which is set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.
1988—Par. (13). Pub. L. 100–478, §1001(a), amended par. (13) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (13) read as follows: "The term 'person' means an individual, corporation, partnership, trust, association, or any other private entity, or any officer, employee, agent, department, or instrumentality of the Federal Government, of any State or political subdivision thereof, or of any foreign government."
Par. (15). Pub. L. 100–478, §1001(b), inserted "also" before "means the Secretary of Agriculture".
1982—Par. (11). Pub. L. 97–304 struck out par. (11) which defined "irresolvable conflict" as, with respect to any action authorized, funded, or carried out by a Federal agency, a set of circumstances under which, after consultation as required in section 1536(a) of this title, completion of such action would violate section 1536(a)(2) of this title.
1979—Par. (11). Pub. L. 96–159 substituted "action would violate section 1536(a)(2) of this title" for "action would (A) jeopardize the continued existence of an endangered or threatened species, or (B) result in the adverse modification or destruction of a critical habitat".
1978—Pars. (1) to (4). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(1), (7), added par. (1) and redesignated former pars. (1) to (3) as (2) to (4), respectively. Former par. (4) redesignated (6).
Par. (5). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(2), (7), added par. (5). Former par. (5) redesignated (8).
Par. (6). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(7), redesignated former par. (4) as (6). Former par. (6) redesignated (9).
Par. (7). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(3), (7), added par. (7). Former par. (7) redesignated (10).
Pars. (8) to (10). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(7), redesignated former pars. (5) to (7) as (8) to (10), respectively. Former pars. (8) to (10) redesignated (13) to (15), respectively.
Pars. (11), (12). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(4), (7), added pars. (11) and (12). Former pars. (11) and (12) redesignated (16) and (17), respectively.
Pars. (13) to (15). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(7), redesignated former pars. (8) to (10) as (13) to (15), respectively. Former pars. (13) to (15) redesignated as (18) to (20), respectively.
Par. (16). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(5), (7), redesignated former par. (11) as (16) and substituted "and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature" for "and any other group of fish or wildlife of the same species or smaller taxa in common spatial arrangement that interbreed when mature". Former par. (16) redesignated (21).
Par. (17). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(7), redesignated former par. (12) as (17).
Par. (18). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(6), (7), redesignated former par. (13) as (18) and substituted "fish, plant, or wildlife" for "fish or wildlife".
Pars. (19) to (21). Pub. L. 95–632, §2(7), redesignated pars. (14) to (16) as (19) to (21), respectively.
1976—Par. (1). Pub. L. 94–359 inserted ": Provided, however, That it does not include exhibition of commodities by museums or similar cultural or historical organizations." after "facilitating such buying and selling".
For termination of Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, see note set out preceding section 1681 of Title 48, Territories and Insular Possessions.