Candidate species are those species for which the Service has sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threat(s) to support a proposal to list, but working on a proposed rule is precluded by higher priority listing actions. Through the “candidate assessment” process, our biologists identify species that warrant listing based on the best scientific and commercial data available. Alaska currently has one species that is a candidate for listing under the ESA:
Pacific walrus has a “warranted but precluded” designation. This means that our candidate assessment led us to determine that threats to the Pacific walrus were great enough that the species warranted listing. Due to limited resources nationally, we are unable to immediately move forward until additional funding becomes available. We will publish either 1) a proposed rule to list or 2) a finding that listing is no longer warranted for the Pacific walrus by September 30, 2017. In the interim, we are continuing to work with our partners to better understand and reduce threats to this species.
Kittlitz's murrelet and yellow-billed loon were previously identified as candidate species in Alaska. However, the Service published 12-month findings in the Federal Register on October 3, 2013 and October 1, 2014, respectively, which concluded that listing these species was no longer warranted.
We have also done assessments for the olive-sided flycatcher, Prince of Wales spruce grouse, Tunux moonwort and Montague Island marmot and Prince of Wales flying squirrel. We concluded that these species should not be candidates.
The following factors are considered during the candidate assessment (and listing) process:
- the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species’ habitat or range;
- overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
- disease or predation;
- the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
- other natural or man-made factors affecting the species’ continued existence
Each year, we consider the best available scientific and commercial data, and reassess the threats to species identified as candidates. These analyses, published annually in the Candidate Notice of Review, allow a species’ status to be updated until a proposal to list the species as endangered or threatened can be completed, or new information indicates that the species no longer needs protection under the ESA.
To learn more about candidate conservation process, please visit our national Candidate Conservation webpage.