Ch. 9: Preservation of Biodiversity


On March 29, 2017, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit unanimously reversed a district court decision holding that Congress did not have the constitutional authority to protect the endangered Utah prairie dog when it is found on private land.  Citing Gonzales v. Raich (pp. 1008-1009), the court in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 852 F.3d 990 (10th Cir. 2017), held that even a purely intrastate species could be protected by Congress against non-commercial takes because it was necessary to preserve the integrity of a larger federal regulatory scheme.  As a result of this decision, all nine circuits of the U.S. Courts of Appeal that have considered the issue have upheld the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act. The court’s decision is available here: PETPO.pdf


The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) of the Department of Interior (DoI) is responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for plants and wildlife. FWS maintains an endangered species webpage located at  The central webpage provides news updates concerning species protection efforts and it has extensive links to information about implementation of the ESA, including information on federal interagency consultations, the habitat conservation planning process, listing decisions, and a summary of the history of the ESA and its implementation.  The website also has links to downloadable publications at

The Endangered Species Bulletin is the primary means by which the U.S. FIsh and WIldlife Service disseminates information on rulemakings (listings, reclassifications, and delistings), recovery plans and activities, regulatory changes, interagency consultations, changes in species’ status, research developments, new ecological threats, and other issues.  It is printed bimonthly, six editions per year, with an annual index. Copies of the Bulletin are available online at:

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) of the US Department of Commerce is the agency responsible for implementing provisions of the Endangered Species Act applicable to marine species. NMFS maintains a website that provides information about its efforts to protect endangered marine species at The site has links to policies, regulations, and guidance documents and even information about how to arrange to view listed species in the wild without harming them

The UN Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre monitors global species protection efforts. Its website is at A variety of non-governmental organizations have webpages devoted to endangered species issues. The Endangered Species Coalition, a coalition of more than 400 conservation, scientific, business, and religious organizations that supports stronger species protection efforts has a website at The World Wildlife Fund's webpage is at  An industry group active on ESA issues, which calls itself the Endangered Species Act Reform Coalition, has a website at