The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has expanded its critical habitat designation for the Canada Lynx. According to the agency’s press release, the revised designation adds about 37,000 square miles to its 2006 designation (then a total of 1,841 square miles, including Voyageurs National Park). In Minnesota, the addition includes 8,065 square miles in Cook, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis Counties in northern Minnesota.
Critical habitat is a federal protection. Within designated areas, federal agencies must consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prior to conducting activities that might negatively impact critical habitat. Designation as a critical habitat has no bearing on non-federal projects like private development. To learn more about endangered species and critical habitat protection, check out this brochure by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services site.