Arizona, like most states around the country, is experiencing unprecedented expansion of the federal Endangered Species Act (as the downloadable maps and chart show). This expansion will create substantial problems for state and municipal government, businesses, landowners and even species, which are harmed by the Act’s penalty-based approach to conservation.
Many of the species that could be listed in Arizona are based in freshwater aquatic habitats, which will have broad regulatory impacts, including:
1) increasingly contentious and litigious conflicts over water use and rights;
2) watershed-wide regulations due to attempts by litigants to encompass entire watersheds;
3) interstate conflict because the watersheds that support these species often span Arizona and adjacent states.
State legislation that will chart a more productive and broad-based approach by:
1) Creating an interagency task force that would serve as a coordinating body for Arizona’s endangered species conservation efforts.
2) Creating a mechanism for funding high quality research, by reallocating existing funding, so that only species that merit protection are listed.
3) Protecting the confidentiality and anonymity of landowners who agree to have their property surveyed during the course of research activities.