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Endangered Species

When Congress passed the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1973, it recognized that our rich natural heritage is of “esthetic, ecological, educational, recreational, and scientific value to our Nation and its people.”  It further expressed concern that many of our nation’s native plants and animals were in danger of becoming extinct.

The purpose of the ESA is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.  It is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).  The FWS has primary responsibility for terrestrial and freshwater organisms, while the responsibilities of NMFS are mainly marine wildlife such as whales and anadromous fish such as sturgeon and salmon.

Under the ESA, species may be listed as either endangered or threatened.  “Endangered” means a species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.  “Threatened” means a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.  All species of plants and animals, except pest insects, are eligible for listing as endangered or threatened.  For the purposes of the ESA, Congress defined species to include subspecies, varieties, and, for vertebrates, distinct population segments.

The Endangered Species Act

For all the details, download the ESA fact sheet

View and learn more about each section of the Act.

Learn the history of the Act.

Access the full library of documents related to the Endangered Species Act.


Endangered, Threatened, and At-Risk Species | County Listings

South Carolina List of Endangered, Threatened, Candidate Species, and At-Risk Species

South Carolina At-Risk Species Fact Sheet


South Carolina’s At-Risk Species Profiles:


Carolina gopher frog
Chamberlain’s dwarf salamander
Eastern hellbender
Green salamander
Patch-nosed salamander


Black-capped petrel
Eastern black rail
Golden-winged warbler
MacGillivray’s seaside sparrow


Frosted elfin
Monarch butterfly


Chauga crayfish
Broad River spiny crayfish (aka – Little River crayfish)
Mimic crayfish
Newberry burrowing crayfish (aka – Saluda crayfish)


Appalachian snaketail
Calvert’s emerald
Edmund’s snaketail
Mountain River cruiser (aka - Margarita River skimmer)
Septima’s clubtail


Carolina pygmy sunfish
Robust redhorse


Rafinesque’s big-eared bat
Tri-colored bat


Atlantic pigtoe
Brook floater
Brother spike
Savannah lilliput
Waccamaw futmucket


Eastern diamondback rattlesnake
Florida pine snake
Gopher tortoise
Southern hognose snake
Spotted turtle


Bay boneset (aka – Swamp justiceweed)
Bog spicebush
Boykin’s lobelia
Carolina birds-in-a-nest
Carolina bishopweed
Carolina hemlock
Ciliate-leaf tickseed
Elliott’s croton
Evergreen quillwort
Georgia lead-plant
Godfrey’s privet
Godfrey’s stitchwort
Harper’s fimbristylis
Carolina hedge-nettle
Long Beach seedbox
Mountain purple pitcher plant
Ocmulgee skullcap
Purpledisk honeycombhead
Raven’s seedbox
Ravine sedge (aka – Impressed nerve sedge)
Sandhills lily
Spathulate seedbox
Sun-facing coneflower
Thorne’s beakrush
Venus flytrap
Wireleaf dropseed
Yellow pond lily (aka – Cape Fear spatterdock)


Smokies needlefly 


Threatened and Endangered Species Searchable Database

Find Endangered Species





Other Links


Last updated: March 30, 2018
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