|Is it possible to use my property for recreation or timber harvests
if a threatened or endangered species lives there?
Absolutely! These activities are often compatible with the existence of a
threatened or endangered species and the species may occur within a limited
area that can be readily avoided. The contact listed in this document can help
you determine what activities would be appropriate if you have a listed
species living on your property. For example, to avoid disturbing nesting bald
eagles during their breeding period, the agency may recommend that you
maintain a protective area around the nest. In most cases, management
activities can proceed as planned. In over twenty years (since the enactment
of the Endangered Species Act) not a single case seeking compensation for
illegal seizure of private property under the Endangered Species Act has come
to the U.S. Court of Claims.
What are the legal restrictions if an endangered species lives on my
There are different legal protections for plants and animals.
The Federal ESA prohibits "taking" of an endangered or
threatened animal. This means that you cannot "harm harass, pursue, hunt,
shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect any threatened or endangered
species." "Taking" can also mean habitat alternation resulting
in harm to the species. Whether on private or Federal land, whether
intentional or unintentional, the "taking" of a listed animal is
illegal. Protection in addition to this may be afforded through your State's
Endangered Species Act.
PLANT PROTECTIONUnder the
Federal ESA, plants are protected if Federal lands, funds or permits are
involved in the action.
For example, if you are a landowner enrolled in the Forest Stewardship
Program, Federal funds are used to provide you with financial and technical
assistance for management of your property. Therefore, you need to comply with
the protection given to plants under the Federal ESA. This means that there is
protection from malicious destruction of a threatened or endangered plant on
In addition, individual states may have protection for plants. In many
states, this protection of a listed plant from collection without permission
from the landowner. This protection is usually afforded through a clause in
the State Endangered Species Act. For more detailed information, contact your
Natural Heritage Program Coordinator or your State wildlife agency. (See
"Where to Go
for Assistance" lists.)
I am a landowner enrolled in the Forest Stewardship Program and a
threatened or endangered species is discovered on my property, will there be
more regulation than if I were not enrolled in the program?
No. The Forest Stewardship Program is voluntary and is a nonregulatory means
to provide landowners with technical and financial assistance to make their
stewardship vision for their land a reality. Regardless of whether property is
in the Forest Stewardship Program or not, the USDA Forest Service (and other
Federal agencies) are responsible under the Federal ESA to ensure that any
action authorized, funded, or carried out by the agency is not likely to
jeopardize the continued existence of any threatened or endangered species. As
a result, the resource professional that assists you in preparing your
management plan should consider and evaluate (possibly with the help of State
wildlife agencies or Natural Heritage Programs) the presence of threatened and
endangered species on your property. A description of the situation should be
included in the management plan. If a threatened or endangered species lives
on your property and management could have an impact on the species, the U.S.
Forest Service is required to consult the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Then, within the law, appropriate management recommendations can be made. As
previously mentioned, management is typically compatible with the existence of
a T&E species. This can also be a great opportunity to help a T&E