Mountain-Prairie Region

Science >>Surrogate Species

Black-footed Ferret. Credit: J. Michael Lockhart


View the Draft Technical Guidance

The Surrogate Species Approach

Frequently Asked Questions

An in-depth look at the surrogate species guidance

View a working Montana example

View a Prairie Pothole example

Surrogate Species On the Ground

Flint Hills Surrogate Species

Surrogate Species

Surrogate species are a layer within Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC). Since the sheer number of species for which the Service, states, and partners work with make designing and conserving landscape-scale habitats impractical on a species-by-species basis, we are now developing a process to collaboratively identify surrogate species representing other species or aspects of the species' environment (e.g., water quality, sagebrush or grasslands, etc.).


Surrogate species is a commonly-used scientific term for system-based conservation planning that uses a species as an indicator of landscape habitat and system conditions. Surrogate species are used for comprehensive conservation planning that supports multiple species and habitats within a defined landscape or geographic area.


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 mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with
Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and
their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People.
February 4, 2014
All Images Credit to and Courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Unless Specified Otherwise.
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