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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY BASED INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE AQUATIC AND RIPARIAN WEEDS Title: The Endangered Species Act: Interfacing with Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems

Authors
item Mcgaughey, Bernalyn -
item Anderson, Lars
item Bodenchuk, Michael -

Submitted to: Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Issue Paper
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2009
Publication Date: October 1, 2009
Citation: Mcgaughey, B., Anderson, L.W., Bodenchuk, M.J. 2009. The Endangered Species Act: Interfacing with Agricultural and Natural Ecosystems. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. CAST Commentary QTA 2009-2, Ames, Iowa. Available: http://www.cast-science.org/publications.asp

Interpretive Summary: This paper explores and discusses the interaction between the regulatory policy of the Endangered Species Act, public perception, and science in relation to the interpretation of risk to endangered species from various "stressors" associated with agricultural practices. It provides examples of successful, constructive interagency coordination and compliance wit the Endangered Species Act. Problems and impediments to effective pest management are also noted. In the absence of definitive government policy, courts are establishing risk mitigation procedures that may adversely affect agricultural productivity and practices. The authors address several potential remedies, including (1) better communication, (2) clear policy and agency coordination, (3) recognition and consideration of long-term impacts, and (4) balanced and consistent implementation.

Technical Abstract: The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides protective measures and a framework for establishing compliance criteria for actions that may affect species (and their habitat) listed under the Act. In many cases, the ESA can be effectively used under Section & of the Act, which provides procedures for compliance by federal agencies, or by federal partners in which a lead federal agency acts as a formal “Nexus” between agencies conducting pest management, and the regulating agencies: US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). This paper explores and discusses the interaction between the regulatory policy of the Endangered Species Act, public perception, and science in relation to the interpretation of risk to endangered species from various "stressors" associated with agricultural practices, and with limitations in natural ecosystem management. Examples of problematic as well as successful project are noted. The Egeria densa control Program in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (California) has achieved success through an interactive, adaptive process that has accommodated new research findings that enabled proper evaluation of risk. Problems and impediments to effective pest management are also noted, particularly when short-term impacts are not weighed carefully against longer-term gains, including better protection of listed species. In the absence of definitive government policy, courts are establishing risk mitigation procedures that may adversely affect agricultural productivity and practices. The authors address several potential remedies, including (1) better communication, (2) clear policy and agency coordination, (3) recognition and consideration of long-term impacts, and (4) balanced and consistent implementation.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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