Panama City Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America


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Habitat Conservataion Plans / Section 10


Why should we save endangered species? Congress answered this question in the introduction to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), recognizing that endangered and threatened species of wildlife and plants "are of esthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people."

After this finding, Congress said that the purposes of the Act are "…to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved [and] to provide a program for the conservation of such … species…"

Perdido Key beach mouse
Credit: FWS

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act provide for partnerships with non-Federal parties to conserve the ecosystems upon which listed species depend, ultimately contributing to their recovery.

HCPs are planning documents required as part of an application for an incidental take permit. They describe the anticipated effects of the proposed taking; how those impacts will be minimized, or mitigated; and how the HCP is to be funded. HCPs can apply to both listed and nonlisted species, including those that are candidates or have been proposed for listing. Conserving species before they are in danger of extinction or are likely to become so can also provide early benefits and prevent the need for listing.

Habitat Conservation Plans Information


Habitat Conservation Plans


Incidental Take Permits



Last updated: April 17, 2018