Endangered Species Legislation
The Maine Legislature established the foundation for Maine's Endangered Species Program when it passed the Maine Endangered Species Act [MESA] in 1975 in response to concerns that various species of fish and wildlife were in danger of disappearing from the State. This act covers all of Maine's inland fish and wildlife (including invertebrates), and gives the Commissioner of Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife [MDIFW] the authority to implement MESA.
In 2003, the Maine Legislature passed legislation that gives the Commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources authority to specifically list and conserve endangered and threatened marine species. Endangered and Threatened plants are the responsibility of the Maine Natural Areas Program, which resides in Maine's Department of Conservation.
Maine Endangered Species Rules
There have been many rules passed under the authority Maine's Endangered Species Act [MESA] under Section 8 of the Department rules. All rulemaking must be in accordance to the Maine Administrative Procedure Act [APA] and process.
U.S. Endangered Species Act
Congress passed the U.S. Endangered Species Act [ESA] in 1973, in recognition that our rich natural heritage is of "esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people." It further expressed concern that many of our nation's native plants and animals were in danger of becoming extinct. Maine used the ESA as a model for the Maine Endangered Species Act [MESA].