Ecological Services
Northeast Region
Endangered Species: About Us News and Highlights

About the Endangered Species Program

The Service leads recovery and conservation of our nation's imperiled species as the principal federal partner responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act.

Our Endangered Species biologists work with many partners, including tribes, federal and state agencies, companies, private landowners and conservation groups, to protect and restore listed and candidate species and their habitats.

These responsibilities include the following:

Classification: We assess the conservation status of species for their addition to, and removal from, the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (List). We may initiate a species assessment through our internal assessment process or in response to a petition from the public. We conduct a formal rulemaking process to change the List by: adding a species and designating critical habitat (list), changing the status of a species from endangered to threatened (downlist), and removing a species (delist). Formal rulemaking includes public comment and scientific peer review.

Recovery: We work with partners to prepare and implement recovery plans for listed species. Recovery actions can include habitat restoration, species propagation and reintroduction, and managing threats. We also conduct 5-year reviews to assess the status of listed species.

Consultation: Section 7 of the ESA requires all Federal agencies to ensure the actions they carry out, fund, or authorize do not jeopardize the existence of any listed species or adversely modify critical habitat. Through section 7 consultation, we assist Federal agencies in fulfilling this obligation.

Permits: The ESA prohibits "take" (kill, harm, harass, etc.) of listed species. We issue permits under section 10 of the ESA authorizing take of listed species resulting from research and other recovery actions and from land-use activities. Individuals or entities seeking a permit for take that is incidental to a non-Federal (i.e., having no Federal agency involvement) project or activity must prepare a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) that minimizes and mitigates the effects of the take. We assist permit applicants in preparing their HCPs.

Grants: We provide grants to States under Section 6 of the ESA for implementation of recovery actions for listed species. These actions include species surveys, monitoring, research, habitat restoration, land acquisition, and other activities. These funds may, in turn, be awarded to private landowners and groups.


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Two freshwater mussels added to endangered species list with designated critical habitat in VA slabside pearlymussel
Service estimates economic impacts of critical habitat designation for rabbitsfoot mussel rabbitsfoot mussel
Service estimates economic impacts of critical habitat designation for West Virginia fish diamond darter

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Last updated: September 27, 2013