U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Endangered Species Program


    Preventing Extinction. Achieving Recovery.

    The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species and helped many others recover. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), along with our sister agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), is responsible for implementing the ESA nationally. We continuously strive towards making implementation of the ESA less complex, less contentious, and more effective. Ultimately we want to work with you and our partners to accelerate recovery of threatened and endangered species, and make it easier for people to coexist with listed species.

      Currently Listed Species in Alaska



      A male polar bear stands alert on the Arctic coast near Kaktovik, Alaska   Photo Credit: Eric Regehr/USFWS

      In Alaska, our two major goals are:

      1. Work with our partners to conserve species and their habitat so that listing under the ESA is not necessary.
      2. Protect endangered and threatened species and their habitat, and work with our partners to help them recover.


      Our Responsibilities Include: 

      Candidate Conservation

      We identify and assess the status of imperiled species that may need protection under the ESA.

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      Section 4 of the ESA directs us to list species as endangered or threatened when they are imperiled, and to designate critical habitat that’s essential for their continued existence. It also allows us to “delist” species when they no longer need ESA protection. 

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      We are responsible for developing and implementing recovery plans that identify specific actions that will lead to a species’ recovery.

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      All Federal agencies have a responsibility to ensure that their actions do not jeopardize the existence of any listed species or adversely modify designated critical habitat. Under the authority of Section 7 of the ESA, we consult with other Federal agencies to help them fulfill their obligations.

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      Section 10 of the ESA lets us issue permits that allow "take" of listed species for recovery-related research and other activities.  If a non-Federal project is expected to cause “incidental take” of a listed animal, a permit is required.  

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      Section 6 of the ESA lets us provide funding to the State for activities that benefit listed species (e.g., habitat restoration, captive breeding and reintroduction).

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      Spectacaled Eider
      Spectacaled Eider. Photo credit: USFWS
      Polar Bear Gathering Wood
      Polar Bear Gathering Wood. Office of Marine Mammal Management/USFWS

      The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, "What good is it?" If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.

       -- Aldo Leopold