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How are species protected?
  • USFWS creates recovery plans for listed species that pinpoint actions that must occur to move the species out of federal protection.

The aim of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to protect plants and animals listed as endangered or threatened and their ecosystems. Also, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) tries to improve the status of those species to the extent that protection under the ESA is not needed anymore. This operation is called recovery. Recovering species is a difficult task and may be time-consuming. In some situations, the USFWS tries to combat population declines that have been occurring for over 200 years.

A listed species goes into recovery right when the final rule listing it under the ESA is effective. The USFWS often helps behind the scenes before some species are even under listing consideration. Recovery actions may include working alongside a state park to mend dunes, or with a national forest to get rid of exotic overcrowding plants, or with a college professor to help with reproduction efforts of a species. To have a clear road to obtain recovery, USFWS creates recovery plans for listed species that pinpoint actions that must occur to move the species out of federal protection.

Making a recovery plan is special for every species. When creating plans, the following is considered:

  • The factors that threaten a species;
  • The extent of those threats;
  • The level to which the threats can change.

Species biology, the amount of individuals, and where they are found, as well as other factors, are very essential.

Typically, recovery teams made up of species experts, internal and external to USFWS, work together to make and carry out recovery plans. Recovery plans for any protected species can be found using the Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS). Together with the ESA, other acts help safeguard species. Main acts include the Lacey Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).