Cooperation and the Endangered Species Act

by S. Clayton Palmer, Western Area Power Administration, Salt Lake City, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


Passage of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973 set the stage for some of the nations most polemic environmental battles. One of these is in the Colorado River Basin which is home to four native and rare fish species. Acrimonious confrontation has characterized the consultations under the ESA regarding these fish species. In 1983, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced that no new water depletions from the Upper Colorado River Basin would be allowed. This created no small stir among basin states and water developers and a negotiated solution was sought. The result was the Recovery Implementation Program for Endangered Fish Species in the Upper Colorado River Basin (Recovery Program). Models of political negotiation indicate conceptually, that the Recovery Program with its decisions made by unanimity of consensus, its open process and sharing of information, its shared budget and users fees, is a vehicle of political compromise and cooperation.

Subject Headings: Endangered species | Fish and fishery management | Rivers and streams | Basins | Political factors | Water resources | Consulting services | Wildlife | Colorado River

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