Federal laws require the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and MoDOT to thoroughly address any potential impacts their projects might have on federally listed T&E species and eliminate or minimize those impacts. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) provides for the protection of threatened and endangered species, both plants and animals, and the habitats that are considered critical to the survival of these species, e.g., breeding, nesting, roosting, and foraging areas. The ESA additionally requires FHWA and MoDOT to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regarding their projects and measures that can be implemented to minimize or eliminate project impacts to these species. The USFWS is empowered as the chief administrative, regulatory, and enforcement agency regarding threatened and endangered species and their critical habitats.
MoDOT projects must also address potential impacts to state listed species. The State of Missouri also maintains endangered species legislation that protects these species. The state Endangered Species Act and the Missouri Wildlife Code protect state listed species. The Missouri Cave Resources Act protects caves from trespass, vandalism, contamination, and destruction. The Missouri Department of Conservation is the administrative, regulatory, and enforcement agency for state sensitive species. The state of also tracks the status of approximately 1,036 plant and animal species that are considered rare in the state. Of these, 67 are listed as state endangered.