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.
The first step in the recovery planning process is the development of a recovery outline. Recovery outlines are usually prepared within 90 days of when a species is listed. A recovery outline serves as interim guidance to direct conservation efforts until a draft recovery plan is completed, and is intended primarily for internal use by the Service. Recovery outlines summarize the state of our knowledge of the species, identify high priority recovery actions that may be undertaken immediately, and lay out the strategy and timing for the development of the recovery plan. Click here to see the recovery outlines for recently listed species in the Pacific Region.
The recovery planning process provides for public participation to enhance coordination and acceptance, which are vital to the survival and eventual recovery of threatened and endangered species. Recovery plans are often developed with the assistance of expert recovery teams; State, Federal, or Tribal agencies; and others. In all cases, we seek independent peer review of our recovery plans to ensure that these documents reflect the best available science to guide the recovery of the listed species. Recently completed recovery plans in the Pacific Region are available here.
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.
A recovery plan delineates, justifies, and schedules the research and management actions necessary to support the conservation and recovery of a species. If successfully undertaken, these actions will likely lead to downlisting or delisting of the species. Recovery plans also serve as outreach tools by identifying the particular factors that led to the decline of the species, articulating the strategy for recovery, and explaining why we believe the particular suite of recovery actions described is the most effective and efficient approach to achieving recovery for the species.
All Available Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Plans