Managing Conflicting Demands from Endangered Species: Taking the Challenge

by Kenneth W. Kirby,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Reservoir system managers face conflicting demands from interests such as water supply, flood control, recreation, hydropower, and environmental preservation. Historically, water resource managers have attempted to balance competing interests largely through economic considerations. Some objectives such as endangered species protection have proven difficult to manage based on strict economic criteria, making the management of reservoir systems for maximum benefit even more difficult. Federal and state laws protecting threatened and endangered species were developed to help structure management of environmental resources not suitably measured in economic units. These laws usually impose constraints on operational strategies devised before endangered species needs were analyzed, while the existing demands continue or increase, resulting in an increasingly complex management problem. Furthermore, some reservoir system managers are being required to meet conflicting demands between different endangered species.

Subject Headings: Endangered species | Dispute resolution | Reservoirs | Systems management | Water resources | Managers | Economic factors | Water-based recreation

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