The Federal Endangered Species Act (FESA) was passed by Congress in 1973 to protect and recover at risk species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.  In 1984, California followed when the Legislature passed the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), the provisions of which were designed to mirror the FESA.

Both Federal and State ESAs offer special protections to wildlife and plants deemed in danger of extinction by both the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW).  At times, those protections can prevent the development of rural economies through restrictions on critical habitat that slow or halt recreational use and development.  The USFWS has proposed several amendments to the FESA to reform the way species listings account for economic impacts and other important criteria.

RCRC  actively engages in the rulemaking processes which list specific species as endangered when they impact RCRC member counties.  RCRC also regularly works to ensure that proposed changes to critical habitat regulations will have minimal impact on development and tourism in rural communities.

Staff:  Mary-Ann Warmerdam and Staci Heaton