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May 17, 2024

Why it matters: The Endangered Species Act


Biodiversity is the backbone of healthy ecosystems, but our planet is facing an unprecedented rate of species extinction, largely due to human activities such as habitat destruction, climate change, and pollution. In the face of such challenges, the United States’ Endangered Species Act (ESA) stands as a beacon of hope in U.S. waters, a testament of a shared commitment to safeguard biodiversity.


Enacted in 1973, the U.S. Endangered Species Act represents one of the most comprehensive legislative efforts to protect vulnerable species and their habitats. Since it went into effect, the ESA has helped prevent wildlife like bald eagles, brown pelicans, and gray whales from vanishing forever. It has also helped species rebound, like the Atlantic green sea turtle, whose population had declined after overhunting, but since being listed under the ESA in 1978 has started growing again.  


Approximately 1,683 endangered or threatened plants and animals are listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the United States.  

Right now, the ESA is under threat from members of Congress trying to roll back key parts of this landmark law. Dozens of bills have been introduced to undermine the ESA, from weakening protections for species, to delaying necessary protections for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from boat strikes.  


The ESA benefits thousands of species, the environment, and the economy. Your voice can help to ensure the ESA remains strong and is protected from anti-environmental interests in Congress.  

You can help today by taking action to safeguard the future of countless marine species.