The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service have published an interagency policy to clarify the role of State agencies in activities undertaken by the Services under authority of the Endangered Species Act. The policy revises a policy issued in 1994.

FWS and NMFS have delegated responsibility for administering the ESA. The Services recognize that, in the exercise of their general governmental powers, States possess broad trustee and police powers over fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats within their borders. Unless preempted by Federal authority, States possess primary authority and responsibility for protection and management of fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats. State agencies often possess scientific data and valuable expertise on the status and distribution of endangered, threatened, and candidate species of wildlife and plants. State agencies, because of their authorities and their close working relationships with local governments and landowners, are in a unique position to assist the Services in implementing all aspects of the Act. In this regard, section 6 of the Act provides that the Services shall cooperate to the maximum extent practicable with the States in carrying out programs authorized by the Act

Click here to read more about the revised cooperative policy.