Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) allows for the development of Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs), which result in Incidental Take Permits that give exceptions to the prohibition against "take" of a listed species. These permits are most commonly issued to entities such as municipal water utilities, as their activities support long-term survival and recovery of listed species and benefit from stable, long-term regulations.
To obtain an ESA Section 10 Incidental Take Permit, a non-federal applicant develops and submits a HCP to NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for technical assistance and for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and public review. Once all reviews are complete, the HCP is final and all parties sign it. NOAA Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service then issue ESA Section 10 Incidental Take Permits that cover their respective species.