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Conservation and Regulation Working Together

To conserve endangered and threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend

The ESA was passed in 1973 to conserve endangered and threatened species and “the ecosystems upon which [they] depend.” It’s intended to facilitate cooperation among Federal, State, and local agencies and to encourage “creative partnerships” between the public and private sectors (H.R. Rep. No. 97-835 (1982)). The ESA is administered by the Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which is responsible for terrestrial and freshwater organisms, and the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which is responsible for marine and anadromous species such as whales and salmon. Through the ESA these agencies list species and designate habitats for protection, develop plans for their management and recovery, and ensure that development activities don’t threaten their continued existence.

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Section 7 Consultation: (Government Consultations, Emergency Response)

When a Federal Agency is involved in an activity that may affect threatened or endangered species or designated critical habitat, they have to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the National Marine Fisheries Service to complete Section 7 consultation. At times this process involves private individuals or businesses that require Federal permits, authorization, or funding. Through this process project proponents can ensure that their actions can be implemented within the context of species conservation and receive any needed authorization for species take that may occur. Early engagement in this collaborative process is ideal, as this is when the most flexibility exists and potential conflicts can be more easily avoided. Michael Horton of IPaC Associates spent 10 of his 25+ years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as their National Section 7 Coordinator. Consequently, IPaC is uniquely qualified to guide clients through this process.

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Section 10 (Habitat Conservation Plans, Safe Harbor, etc.)

Section 10 provides a means for private citizens and businesses to obtain take permits under the Endangered Species Act when a Federal agency is not involved. 10(a)(1)(A) provides for permitting scientific research and other activities intended to advance species conservation, including Safe Harbor agreements with Assurances; Section 10(a)(1)(B) provides for permitting development activities. As part of these processes, project proponents develop plans such as a Habitat Conservation Plans and Safe Harbor Agreements that describe the proposed project and associated species “conservation program” that will be implemented. IPaC Associates specializes in process navigation, project and conservation plan development, and permit negotiation to obtain the best outcomes.

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Section 4 (Recovery Planning)

Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act is concerned with, among other things, the recovery of threatened and endangered species. Recovery planning and landscape conservation planning go hand-in-hand and IPaC Associates has more than 30 years’ experience in these arenas, both inside and outside the Federal government.

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Section 9 (Violations)

Although violations of the Endangered Species Act are often unintentional, they do occur and are a serious matter often involving Section 9 of the ESA. Honest and open communications, cooperation, and a willingness to compensate for impacts are key to not only developing the trust of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, but also in achieving an acceptable resolution. IPaC Associates has extensive experience and is uniquely qualified to assist in resolving these issues.