Chesapeake Bay Field Office
Northeast Region




Threatened and Endangered Species Program

Since life began, species have come and gone. While extinctions do occur naturally, scientific evidence suggests that the current rate of extinction is much higher than the natural rate. Biologists estimate that since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, more than 5000 species, subspecies and varieties of our Nation's plants and animals have become extinct.

Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the primary responsibility to coordinate the conservation of those plants and animals that are threatened with extinction and the ecosystems that support them. This is accomplished through:

The Chesapeake Bay Field Office is responsible for protecting threatened and endangered species that occur in Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia and portions of Virginia.

Why should we save endangered species? All living creatures, including people, are part of a complex balanced network called the biosphere. The removal of a single species from the biosphere can set off chain reactions that affect other species. By saving endangered species we preserve the natural diversity of life on earth. Endangered and threatened species may also provide the chemical compounds necessary for new medicines, biological controls for agricultural pests and new food sources and act as environmental barometers alerting us to problems affecting wildlife, air, soil or water.



Endangered swamp pink
Federally listed threatened species, Swamp pink (helonias bullata) USFWS photo

Last updated: January 28, 2011