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Listing and Critical Habitat

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  • Listing and Critical Habitat

    "Listing" is the process used to add animal or plant species to the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; and then protect them under the Endangered Species Act (ESA )as well as designating critical habitat for those species. The names of all species listed as threatened or endangered are included on the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (50 CFR 17.11) and the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants (50 CFR 17.12).

    We also remove species from the Threatened and Endangered Species List ("delist") when they no longer need Endangered Species Act protection.

    How Species are identified for possible listing?

    There are two avenues through which a species may be listed under the ESA: through the petition process or through the candidate assessment process.

    The Petition Process - Petitions are formal requests to list a species as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Under the ESA, any interested person may petition the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Commerce (for most marine life) to add or remove a species from the endangered and threatened species lists.

    The Candidate Assessment Process - Through the candidate assessment process, Service biologists identify species as candidates for listing.

    National Listing Work Plan

    In July 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced its final methodology for prioritizing pending Endangered Species Act (ESA) status reviews. Status reviews are the scientifically rigorous process the agency uses to determine whether a species warrants federal protection. The new methodology allows us to strategically address pending status reviews, to be more transparent in how we establish workload priorities, and to collaborate effectively with partners to conserve America's most imperiled plants and wildlife. The National Listing Work Plan provides a schedule for considering species for listing and critical habitat decisions.

    Learn more about the listing process.

    For all the details, download the listing fact sheet [328KB].

    View or download recent listing notices or actions announcements in the Federal Register.

    Learn more about candidate conservation.

    Explore threatened and endangered species across the Pacific.

    Read about critical habitat essential to a species' conservation and how it relates to the listing process.

    Access the full library of documents related to listing.

    Read the Service's policies regarding listing

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