The challenge of threatened and endangered species management in coastal areas

Olivia E. LeDee, Kristen C. Nelson, Francesca J. Cuthbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-353
Number of pages17
JournalCoastal Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the many managers, already pressed for time, for participating in this survey. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. This work was supported with funding from the University of Minnesota Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

Copyright 2010 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Conflict
  • Multiple-use management
  • Piping Plover
  • Public access
  • Threatened and endangered species


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