Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region
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Endangered Species Act (ESA)Listing
Arcata Fish & Wildlife Office, Endangered Species Program


The Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, an “Ecological Services” field office of the Fish and Wildlife Service, participates in the process of listing species under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act, or ESA. Through the listing program, the Fish and Wildlife Service determines whether to add a species to the Federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants.

A species is listed under one of two categories, “endangered” or “threatened”, depending on its status and the degree of threats it faces. An endangered species is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range; a threatened species is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. ESA defines “species” broadly to also include subspecies and (for vertebrate animals) distinct population segments.

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In order to list a species, the Fish and Wildlife Service must follow a strict legal process known as a “rulemaking (or regulatory) procedure.” Federal agencies must follow this rulemaking procedure to adopt regulations that have the effect of law and apply to all persons and agencies under U.S. jurisdiction. As a first step in assessing the status of a species, we publish “notices of review” that identify species that we believe meet the definition of threatened or endangered (“candidate” species). Through these notices, we seek biological information that contributes to the species’ status reviews.

Once the Fish and Wildlife Service adds an animal or plant to the List, the protective measures authorized by the ESA apply. Such measures include protection from adverse effects of Federal activities (through consultations under section 7 of the ESA); restrictions on taking, transporting, or selling a species; authority for us to develop and carry out recovery plans; authority to purchase important habitat; and Federal aid to cooperating State and Commonwealth wildlife agencies. These efforts contribute to species’ survival and recovery, and assist us in achieving our ultimate goals — to maintain the natural diversity of plants and animals and the ecosystems upon which they depend, and to restore listed species to a level where protection is no longer required.


Western Lily, Photo Credit: Dave Imper, USFWS


Oregon Silverspot Butterfly, Photo Credit: Gary Falxa, USFWS


A species is added to the list when it is determined to be endangered or threatened because of any of the following factors:

  • 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;
  • other natural or manmade factors affecting the species’ survival.

The Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office functions as the “lead” office for listing processes for the following species, several of which are endemic to the north coast of California:


We also participate in listing processes for other species which occur in our five-county area, although the lead office may be another office of the Fish and Wildlife Service. For biological information specific to all listed species found in our area, please see our Plant & Animal Species Information pages.

For additional information regarding the endangered species listing program, please visit the Fish and Wildlife Service national web page at:



Last updated: April 16, 2015