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Standing between Life and ExtinctionEthics and Ecology of Conserving Aquatic Species in North American Deserts$
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David Propst, Jack Williams, Kevin Bestgen, and Christopher Hoagstrom

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226694337

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226694504.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

Applying Endangered Species Act Protections to Desert Fishes

Applying Endangered Species Act Protections to Desert Fishes

Assessment and Opportunities

(p.183) 12 Applying Endangered Species Act Protections to Desert Fishes
Standing between Life and Extinction

Matthew E. Andersen

James E. Brooks

University of Chicago Press

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been a powerful tool for species conservation since its passage. Protections from the ESA have reduced the likelihood of extinctions for many species, yet conservation actions have rarely led to full recovery for aquatic species. Expectations for ESA effectiveness are challenged by competing conservation needs among rare species, competition for resources such as water, and funding needs that can be rarely met. The most comprehensive of any species protection legislation in the world, the ESA is vilified by some as an example of federal overreach because its habitat protection provisions may slow development or appear in conflict with state rights. Habitat protection provisions of the ESA are particularly important to desert fish conservation, especially when a species is restricted to a single or few habitats. ESA implementation options have evolved over its 45-year history to be more flexible, resulting in collaborative approaches among agencies, stakeholders, and private individuals. If ESA implementation is to continue to support desert fish conservation, it seems likely that flexible, collaborative approaches will be necessary; however, it is also likely that future drought and water shortages will be obstacles to future conservation efforts.

Keywords:   Endangered Species Act, endangered species, habitat protection, recovery planning, collaborative approaches

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