Alejandro E. Camacho, Elizabeth M. Taylor, Melissa L. Kelly, and Stephanie L. Talavera, Improving Emerging Regulatory Experiments in Permit Process Coordination for Endangered Species and Aquatic Resources in California, 46 Env. L. Rep. 10131 (2016).
The interconnected relationship between California’s wetlands and endangered species has spurred recent efforts to coordinate endangered species permitting under federal and state endangered species laws with freshwater aquatic resource permits under the federal Clean Water Act and analogous state laws. The University of California, Irvine School of Law Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources surveyed these emerging permit coordination efforts among several proposed and existing California Habitat Conservation Plans/Natural Community Conservation Plans. This Article explores these nascent initiatives, including the coordinating tools they have tested, the anticipated benefits, and the already observed challenges. Preliminary evidence suggests that clearer guidance from federal agency headquarters, building on recent Presidential interagency initiatives in infrastructure permitting, would likely provide the best opportunity to promote beneficial permit coordination while minimizing potential drawbacks.