An analysis of ESA “take” (harm) recorded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) uses the term “take” to describe many types of harm to individuals of a listed species. Certain parts of the law allow limited take, and knowing how much has been permitted is essential to allowing–or limiting–future take. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has been critiqued for not tracking authorized (or realized) take in the past, for example, by the GAO and in research from CCI. We examined the “take” field in their database tracking section 7 consultations, TAILS, to determine if that data was sufficient to perform accounting for harmful actions authorized under section 7. As we report in this analysis, it is not sufficient.