Fisheries & Ecological Services - Anchorage Fish & Wildlife Field Office
Fisheries & Ecological Services
Alaska Region   


Anchorage Fish & Wildlife Field Office Endangered Species
Program Overview


The purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. Guided by the ESA framework, biologists in our Endangered Species Branch work to conserve species at risk of extinction. In general, our conservation efforts fall within the following broad categories: 1) Candidate Conservation; 2) Listing; 3) Recovery; 4) Section 7 Consultation; and 5) Habitat Conservation Planning.

Candidate Conservation
Candidate species are those for which we have sufficient information to support a proposal to list as endangered or threatened, however preparation of a proposal is precluded by higher priority listing actions. In Alaska, two species are identified as candidates for listing as threatened or endangered under the ESA: Yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii); and Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens). Both candidate species may occur within the Anchorage Field Office’s geographic area. For more information about candidate species in our area, please visit the AFWFO Candidate Conservation Page.

Listing a species as threatened or endangered, and designating critical habitat is a formal rule-making process. To find out if there are any current or ongoing listing actions in Alaska, please visit the AFWFO Listing page.

Recovery actions are intended to eliminate or reduce threats and help threatened and endangered species increase in abundance to the point in which they can be de-listed (i.e., removed from the List). Recovery actions are implemented through Recovery Plans, which outline the goals and tasks required to recover a threatened or endangered species. A wide range of conservation tools are used to help recover listed species. Such conservation tools include restoring and acquiring habitat, removing introduced predators or invasive plant species, and breeding species in captivity and releasing them into their historic range. The AFWFO is responsible for the recovery of two species, both listed as Endangered: 1) Short-tailed albatross (Phoebastria albatrus); and 2) Aleutian shield fern (Polystichum aleuticum). Please visit the AFWFO Recovery page for more information on Short-tailed albatross and Aleutian shield fern.

Endangered Species Branch staff participate in recovery activities for Steller’s (Polysticta stelleri) and spectacled eiders (Somateria fischeri), led by the Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office, and the southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) and polar bear (Ursus maritimus), led by Marine Mammals Management. Please click here for more information on Steller's eiders, and here for more information on spectacled eiders.

Section 7 Consultation
The ESA directs all Federal agencies to protect listed species and the ecosystems which they depend by: 1) aiding in their conservation; and 2) assuring that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such agency is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a threatened or endangered species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. With the guidance and assistance provided by our biologists, Federal action agencies must undergo section 7 consultation when their activities may adversely affect listed species and their critical habitat. To find out more about listed species and critical habitat in your area, please visit the AFWFO Consultation Page.

Habitat Conservation Planning
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) provide a means for non-Federal partners to contribute to the recovery of a threatened or endangered species by conserving the ecosystems upon which they depend. These planning documents are required when a non-Federal party believes their proposed action will require an incidental take permit for a listed species. To view HCPs for listed species within the jurisdiction of the AFWFO, please click here.


Last updated: February 2016