How do the state and federal endangered species acts affect land use permit applicants?

State and Federal Endangered Species Acts prohibit the “take” (killing, harming, or harassment) of plant or animal species that are listed as endangered or threatened. Under the federal law, species “take” also includes the loss of species habitat to urban development, such as buildings, paving, grading, etc. Endangered species protected under these State and federal laws include the San Joaquin kit fox, Tipton kangaroo rat, blunt nosed leopard lizard, Bakersfield cactus, and others.

Prior to the development of the MBHCP, individual project applicants were required by State and federal wildlife agencies to demonstrate compliance with the endangered species laws by preparing expensive biological reports, securing compensation lands, and undertaking other measures to avoid impacts to the species. These requirements added expense, project delay, and uncertainty to the land development process.