WRA Participates in NAHB ESA Practitioner Panel

Through WRA’s involvement in the California Building Industry Association, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) invited Amanda McCarthy, PhD PWS, to join a panel of practitioners and to speak about WRA’s experiences working with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for consultation on impacts to listed species under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) program.

The ESA Practitioner’s Meeting on the Section 7 Consultation Process was held July 23-24, 2018 in Washington, DC. The panel, including consultants from California, Kentucky, Texas, and Florida, met to identify regulatory, policy, and procedural improvements to the existing ESA Section 7 consultation process that could speed the completion of or even reduce the number of Section 7 consultations (informal or formal) required by the residential land development and construct industry.

The USFWS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries (Services) have proposed revisions to portions of their regulations that implement two key sections of the ESA. The changes are part of an ongoing effort to improve implementation of the ESA and provide the maximum degree of regulatory predictability to those who are affected by the Act.  Based upon the NAHB panel discussions, practicing consultants experience very different timelines and obstacles in permitting potential impacts to listed species.

The panel will continue to work with NAHB experts to provide comments on the proposed changes and hope that this work will result in legislation that will speed the regulatory permitting process without sacrificing the intent of the ESA.

You can learn more about the proposed revisions here.