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Endangered Species Act and Environmental Protection in Indian Country

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) establishes a program for conserving endangered and threatened species and their habitats.

Where an activity is authorized, funded or carried out by EPA, the ESA provides that the federal agency must consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to ensure that the agency action is not likely to jeopardize listed species or their designated critical habitat.

For consultations required by the ESA to ensure no jeopardy, federal policy provides opportunities for tribes to participate in consultations between federal agencies and FWS or NMFS, and establishes that deference will be given to tribal conservation plans regarding activities on Indian lands that address listed species.