The Endangered Species Act: History, Implementation, Successes, and Controversies, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Endangered Species Act

History, Implementation, Successes, and Controversies, 1st Edition

By J. Peyton Doub

CRC Press

282 pages

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The complex regulations of the Endangered Species Act established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can be challenging for environmental professionals who must comply with them or assist clients in compliance. This is true especially for those without a background in biology or ecology. The Endangered Species Act: History, Implementation, Successes, and Controversies discusses the Act using clear scientific prosethat all professionals whose activities fit into the ESA compliance process can readily comprehend, including those with limited education in science.

The book begins by exploring the deeply rooted history of the Endangered Species Act, which extends back decades preceding its enactment in 1973. It continues with a discussion of the basic scientific theory underlying the Act and provides an overview of its key regulations. The author also examines the Act in the context of other key environmental planning statutes such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act, especially Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which relates specifically to wetlands.

The remainder of the book details the regulatory processes faced by other government agencies and private developers who must routinely ensure that their actions comply with the Endangered Species Act. It concludes with a broad discussion of current controversies associated with the Act and how those controversies might ultimately change how environmental practitioners will have to comply with the Act in the future.

The book is neither a defense of the Endangered Species Act and its associated regulations nor a call to repeal or modify the Act or regulations. The presentation is factual and avoids the hype and hyperbole commonly directed at the Act by both environmental activists and deregulation proponents. Readers will gain a solid understanding of how the Act was established, what goals were envisioned by its framers, how current environmental practice under the Act has been shaped, and how those practices might be changed in the future.

Table of Contents

Roots of Endangered Species Conservation

Purpose and Objectives of Book

Early Roots of Conservation

History of American Conservation and Endangered Species Legislation

The Endangered Species Act

Agencies Administering the Endangered Species Act

International Protection of Endangered Species

Some Basic Concepts


Autecology and Synecology



Species and Taxonomy


Genetics and Natural Selection

The Endangered Species Act: The Statute and the Regulations

Overview of the Statute

Some Basic Definitions





Critical Habitat

Delisting and Downlisting: What the Act Seeks to Achieve

Extinct: What the Act Seeks to Avoid

The Listing Process (Section 4 of the Act)

Criteria for Listing

Process for Listing

Development of Recovery Criteria and a Recovery Plan

Other Key Sections of the Act

Section 7: The Government’s Planning and Consultation Process

Section 9: You Cannot Knowingly Kill or Harm Listed Species

Section 10: But You Can Get a Permit to Do So

Rare Species Designations Outside the Scope of the Endangered Species Act

Related Environmental Statutes and Regulations

The National Environmental Policy Act

The Clean Water Act

The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act


Executive Order 11988 (Floodplain Management)

Executive Order 11990 (Protection of Wetlands)

Executive Order 13112

National Historic Preservation Act

Section 7: The Federal Consultation Process

Who Must Comply

Basic Information Sources

Web Sites

Other Data Sources

Informal Consultation

Targeted Surveys

Biological Assessments

Definition and Overview of the Biological Assessment

Project Description in a Biological Assessment

Description of Potentially Affected Species and Habitats

Impact Assessment in a Biological Assessment

Impact Assessment from Ecological Risk Assessment Perspective

Cumulative Impacts in a Biological Assessment

Biological Assessment Conclusions

Take Permits and Mitigation

Incidental Take Permits for Federal Agencies

Biological Opinions

Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives

Incidental Take Statements

Incidental Take Permits for Nonfederal Applicants

The Permit Application Process

Habitat Conservation Plans


Mitigation under the National Environmental Policy Act

Wetland Mitigation

Endangered Species Act Mitigation

The Future of Mitigation

The Endangered Species Act and the States

Overview of State Endangered Species Regulation

Examples of State Endangered Species Acts




Future of the Endangered Species Act

Basic Sources of Support for the Endangered Species Act

Basic Sources of Opposition to the Endangered Species Act

Private Property Rights

Concern over Depressing Economic Activity

Specific Recent Controversies

Republican Contract with America

Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County, Rapanos, and Other Limitations on Section

404 Scope

Proposed Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005

Polar Bear Listing

Bush Administration 2008 "Midnight Rule Changes"

The Tea Party Movement and 2010 Pledge to America

The Endangered Species Act and the 2012 Presidential Election

The Future of the Endangered Species Act


About the Author

Peyton Doub has more than 20 years’ experience as an environmental consultant working with the Endangered Species Act and related environmental regulations and four years working on the environmental staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He is a certified environmental professional (CEP), professional wetland scientist (PWS), and a qualified professional under the Maryland Forest Conservation Act. Mr. Doub has performed dozens of biological field surveys and has contributed biological expertise to numerous environmental impact statements and environmental assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and remedial investigations and feasibility studies under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA; better known as Superfund). He has also contributed to the design of several restoration plans for restoring wetlands, forests, and other habitats of value to endangered species and other ecologically valuable resources. He has authored several papers and spoken at several professional conferences on wetlands, NEPA, and other environmental issues. He has an MS in plant physiology from the University of California at Davis and a BS in plant sciences from Cornell University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Environmental
NATURE / Ecology
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Zoology / General