Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Species Recovery


Recovery is the ultimate goal of the endangered species program and is the process by which the decline of an endangered or threatened species is reversed and threats to its survival are reduced. The goal of this process is to restore the species to the point where it is a secure, self-sustaining part of its ecosystem and to the point that protections under the Endangered Species Act are no longer needed. This involves protecting and often restoring the habitat in which the species can thrive.  Recovery actions can take many forms and our program has many aspects to reflect the diverse nature of threatened and endangered species recovery.

Recovery plans

The development of a recovery plan is one of the first steps for species recovery and is a tool to guide the recovery process and measure progress towards recovery.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required under section 4(f)(1) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to prepare recovery plans for newly listed species, unless we determine that such a plan will not promote the conservation of the species. Recovery plans serve as road maps for species recovery - they lay out where we need to go and how best to get there.
Recovery plans are guidance documents; not regulatory documents. This means that no agency or entity is required by the ESA to implement the recovery strategy or specific actions recommended in a recovery plan. However, the ESA clearly envisions recovery plans as the central organizing tool for guiding each species’ recovery process.

Recovery Plans for California and Nevada

National FWS Recovery Information


Working collaboratively with our partners is a very important aspect for species recovery.  We implement actions under the recovery plans that are considered necessary to recover species and their habitats. 

Recovery permits

These are issued to scientists outside the Service who do research that furthers our understanding of listed species for the purposes of assisting in recovery efforts and other conservation related actions with listed species

The California and Nevada Operations issues recovery permits (as authorized under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act) to allow people to do research that furthers our understanding of listed species for the purposes of assisting in recovery efforts and other conservation related actions with listed species.

For information on how to obtain a recovery permit and to get a copy of a permit application, as well as general information about all types of permits that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues, visit our National Fish and Wildlife Service Permit page.

We have specific Survey Protocols for some of the listed species in the CNO which should be followed when a permittee wants to establish presence or absence of the species.  Please check to see if your species of interest have a survey protocol available.  Survey protocols may be updated at any time, so please be sure to check back occasionally.  In most cases you will still need a recovery permit before implementing a survey protocol. 

We also have certain Minimum Qualifications that an applicant should meet in order to obtain a permit for some species.  Please refer to the associated link above to review the minimum qualifications for working with a particular species.

For information on other types of permits that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues for native species (such as enhancement of survival permits associated with Safe Harbor agreements and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances, and incidental take permits associated with Habitat Conservation Plans), visit our National Permits for Native Species page.

About Five-year reviews

Under the Endangered Species Act (Act), section 4(c)(2)(A) requires that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office (Service) conduct a status review of listed species at least once every 5 years. The review includes consideration of the following:

1. Species biology such as population trends, distribution, abundance, demographics and genetics.
2. Habitat conditions including amount, distribution and suitability.
3. Conservation measures that have been implemented that benefit the species.
4. Threat status and trends, using the same factors that were used when the Service initially listed the species.
5. Other new information, data, or corrections including taxonomic or nomenclatural changes, identification of erroneous information and improved analytical methods.

On the basis of these reviews, we recommend whether or not any species should be removed from the list (delisted), or reclassified from endangered to threatened (downlisted) or from threatened to endangered (uplisted). A recommendation to reclassify a species does not automatically result in a change in classification. Any change requires a separate formal rule-making process, including public review and comment, as defined in section 4(a) of the Act. No change in classification or protection occurs until the completion of that process. Follow this link to a table with all listed plants and animals within the Service's Pacific Southwest Region (Region 8). Clicking on the name of a species will take you to the Service's Species Profile page for that species, which has species- specific information and links to documents, including five-year reviews.

Federal Register documents announcing the initiation and completion of 5-year reviews for Region 8 by year:

Five Year Review 2011 (PDF, 2 MB)
Five Year Review 2010 (PDF, 1 MB)
Five Year Review 2009 (PDF, 1 MB)
Five Year Review 2008 (PDF, 1 MB)
Five Year Review 2007 (PDF, 1 MB)
Five Year Review 2006 (PDF, 1 MB)
Five Year Review 2005 (PDF, 1 MB)

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