The federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) has long been one of the
major flash points in the "property rights" debate. This report
first outlines the ESA provisions most relevant to the act's
impacts on private property, and then surveys the major
ESA-relevant principles of Fifth Amendment takings law. The report
then proceeds to its core topic: the court decisions adjudicating
whether government measures based on the ESA effect a taking of
property under the Fifth Amendment. The cases address four kinds of
ESA measures: (1) restrictions on land uses that might adversely
affect species listed as endangered or threatened; (2) reductions
in water delivery to preserve instream flows needed by listed fish;
(3) restrictions on the defensive measures a property owner may
take to protect his/her property from listed animals; and (4)
restrictions on commercial dealings in members of species acquired
prior to listing as endangered or threatened. To date, only one of
the 12 ESA-based takings decisions revealed by research has found a
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