Habitat Conservation Plans and the Endangered Species Act
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT: LAW, POLICY, AND PERSPECTIVES, p. 220, Donald C. Baur, William Robert Irvin, eds., 2010
26 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2011 Last revised: 28 Feb 2015
Date Written: 2010
Today, landowners and cooperating governments – federal, state, and local – increasingly rely on a unique conservation planning tool, habitat conservation plans (HCPs), to accommodate land development and the strict species and habitat protection requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This, however, is a relatively recent phenomenon. This chapter outlines the history and development of HCPs, analyzes how HCPs incorporate current principles of adaptive management, discusses HCP compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and describes the emerging trend of Multiple-Species HCPs (MSHCPs) using the Western Riverside County MSCHP as a case study. We suggest that the statutory authority for HCPs be augmented in five ways: (1) Development of a reliable federal financing mechanism that would enable sponsors of “mature” HCPs to complete land acquisition while land prices are low; (2) Integration of ESA permitting requirements with other federal environmental mandates (e.g. section 404 permits, air quality permits); (3) Integration of ESA permitting requirements with state environmental requirements and consolidation of overlapping state and federal requirements; (4) Inclusion of provisions dealing with adaptive management that allow for unforeseen consequences of global phenomena like climate change; (5) Codification of the “No Surprises” Rule and the Incidental Take Permit Revocation Rule.
Keywords: Endangered Species Act, Habitat Conservation Plans, Environmental Law, Environment, Incidental Take, National Environmental Policy Act, Western Riverside County, Multiple-Species Habitat Conservation Plans, Adaptive Management, No Surprises Rule
JEL Classification: K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation