Why is the ESA important?
Each plant, animal, and their physical environment is part of a complex web of life. The extinction of a single species can affect many other species, especially humans, who depend on marine, estuarine, and riverine environments for food, commerce, medicine, and recreation. In addition to these practical benefits, the wide variety of species found in our oceans and coasts provide inspiration, beauty, and solace to many. The ESA helps focus conservation efforts and preserve the diversity of the planet in order to maintain this natural legacy for future generations.
Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists, and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans.
President Richard Nixon—statement upon signing the ESA, December 28, 1973