“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It…forms a vital part
of the heritage we all share as Americans.”
—President Richard M. Nixon, in his statement upon signing the Endangered Species Act, December 28, 1973
The federal Endangered Species Act protects endangered species from extinction. (The State of California has its own Endangered Species Act.) Passed in 1973 under President Nixon, the Act has long been one of the nation’s strongest environmental laws as well as one of its most controversial. Here is how it works.
The ESA directs federal agencies to ensure that their actions don’t kill or otherwise harm any endangered species. Because private sector development of land and natural resources may require permission from a government agency, private interests are subject to the ESA.
The ESA has specific processes through which:
Species are listed as endangered or threatened (details of which are found in Section 4 of the ESA).
Information about the condition and range of species covered by the ESA is gathered through a consultation process among federal agencies.
Critical habitat may be designated by the responsible federal agency for protection through a habitat conservation plan. and the federal agency responsible for the permitting action must also ensure species protection in accord with the permit.
Endangered Species Listing
Section 7 Consultation
Section 10 Habitat Conservation Plans
C-WIN Intern Ariel Frink contributed to this web content.