Strategic Habitat Conservation
Conserving the Nature of America


Strategic Habitat Conservation

Biological Planning

Conservation Design

Conservation Delivery

Outcome-based Monitoring


Related Information:

Landscape Conservation Cooperatives

FWS Climate Strategy

Science Excellence

Shared Stories and Practices



Draft Guidance for Selecting Species

What are surrogate species?

To enable effective and efficient fish and wildlife conservation, the Service has developed draft technical guidance to help employees and partners establish biological outcomes at defined landscape scales. This guidance describes a standard process and criteria for defining biological outcomes using a surrogate species approach, reducing the burden of addressing the requirements of many species individually. The application of this guidance represents an opportunity for the Service to participate with partners in advancing understanding of surrogate species science and refining application of the Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) framework to our conservation activities.

The guidance describes ten steps for identifying and selecting surrogate species and discusses the advantages, conservation applications, and limitations of this conservation planning technique. The guidance also provides direction for setting biological objectives and discusses the importance of establishing new and refining existing collaborations within the conservation community to help us collectively meet the conservation needs of the nationís fish, wildlife and plants. Used consistently, this guidance will improve the conservation practitionerís efficiencies and impacts through the application of SHC, assist in defining biological objectives, help target where on the landscape to target efforts, and result in more cost-effective management decisions and investments in conservation.

In the coming months the Service will be engaging employees, States, Tribes and our conservation partners in refining and improving the technical guidance.


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Additional Resources:

Surrogate Species Fact Sheet (PDF)

Draft Technical Guidance (PDF)

Surrogate Species FAQs

SHC Sharepoint Portal (FWS and DOI employees only)


Last updated: May 1, 2013

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