The Challenge of Threatened and Endangered Species Management in Coastal Areas

TitleThe Challenge of Threatened and Endangered Species Management in Coastal Areas
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsLeDee O., Nelson K, Cuthbert FJean
JournalCoastal Management
Pagination337 - 353
Date Published7/2010

A substantial proportion of U.S. federally listed species inhabit a small fraction of the nation's land mass, the coastal zone. Historically, management in this region has been conflict-ridden among diverse parties interested in natural resource extraction, land use, and conservation. This tension persists today, albeit in a more contemporary form: public access demand versus ecosystem conservation. The focus of this study is the influence of this tension on local-level management of federally threatened and endangered species. We surveyed managers of 43 locations of ecological importance for a threatened shorebird, the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus). Reflecting the federal mandate to accommodate both public access and ecosystem conservation, we detected a shift in mission from sole-purpose initiatives (e.g., public access or ecosystem conservation) to a multiple-use mission (i.e., resource-based recreation). Public access and ecosystem conservation were the primary management goals at surveyed sites, 97 and 93%, respectively. Accessible public recreation is common at most locations; however, active management for listed species is rare. Ultimately, local land managers are accountable for managing coastal sites for dual use, thus the tension; however, coastal management activities have yet to resolve the conflict between concurrent management of public access and ecological requirements of listed species.