Candidate species are those species for which the Service has sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threat(s) to support a proposal to list, but working on a proposed rule is precluded by higher priority listing actions. Through the “candidate assessment” process, our biologists identify species that warrant listing based on the best scientific and commercial data available. Alaska is currently home to two species that are candidates for listing under the ESA:
These species have a “warranted but precluded” designation. This means that our candidate assessment led us to determine that threats to the species warranted listing. Due to limited resources nationally, we are unable to immediately move forward until additional funding becomes available. Our time table to submit 1) a proposed rule to list or 2) a finding that listing is not warranted for these species as follows: Yellow-billed loon by September 30, 2014, and Pacific walrus by September 30, 2017. In the interim, we are continuing to work with our partners to better understand and reduce threats to these species.
We have also done assessments for the olive-sided flycatcher, Prince of Wales spruce grouse, Tunux moonwort and Montague Island marmot. We concluded that these species should not be candidates.
The Service was petitioned to list the Kittlitz's murrelet as threatened or endangered and designate critical habitat. On October 3, 2013 a 12-month finding was published in the Federal Register which concluded that listing this species was not warranted.
The following factors are considered during the candidate assessment (and listing) process:
- the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species’ habitat or range;
- overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
- disease or predation;
- the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
- other natural or man-made factors affecting the species’ continued existence
Each year, we consider the best available scientific and commercial data, and reassess the threats to species previously identified as candidates. These analyses, published annually in the Candidate Notice of Review, allow a species’ status to be updated until a proposal to list the species as endangered or threatened can be completed, or new information indicates that the species no longer needs protection under the ESA.
To learn more about candidate conservation process, please visit our national Candidate Conservation webpage.