Do you perform clearing, grading, or excavation activities? Do you build roads, park related projects, homes, or buildings? Are you involved in demolition activities? Will you discharge dredged or fill material to a waterway or wetland? Are you involved in tunnel or pipeline projects?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before beginning any construction project, you should consider the impact of your construction activities on species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as threatened or endangered, and their habitat. You should assess the impacts on endangered species as early as possible in the construction process to avoid delays in your project.
The ESA was passed in 1973 to protect native plants and animals facing potential extinction. The Act has been amended several times and broadened to protect not only particular species, but also the habitats that support them. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) enforce the ESA.
The ESA, FWS and NMFS identify the listed species and habitats, and work through consultations and permit actions to protect those species and their critical habitat. Although ESA is not an EPA requirement, it is included as part of the EPA storm water Construction General Permit (CGP) requirements and therefore is important to the construction industry.
If your activities could impact these species or habitats, you may be required to develop mitigation strategies to minimize the impacts. Prior to construction, you should consult with one of these environmental services, as well as your local conservation agency, to determine if your project could harm endangered or threatened species. For information on the Endangered Species Act, go to: https://www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-policies/
The Endangered Species Act is perhaps the most stringent of all environmental regulations, frequently being used as a tool to stop or impede land and property development. It has the power to shape even local land use decisions across the nation. Murow Development Consultants has extensive experience with the restrictions and procedures of Local, Federal and State laws. We work with clients to develop strategies for projects to get them through the ESA process, allowing development to proceed while the species are protected.