Minimum Qualifications, Acquiring Experience, Practical Exams and Protocols

Minimum Qualifications:

An individual pursuing a Section 10(a)(1)(A) recovery permit to conduct activities for federally listed species must have adequate field experience and qualifications for independently conducting the requested activity with the specified listed species. The Service has developed permitting qualifications for many of our listed species that an individual should meet prior to applying for a recovery permit. Typically, one field season of supervised experience is required for all species. Please see "minimum qualifications" under each species below.

When addressing our minimum qualifications, be sure to submit a copy of your resume and qualifications statement with the permit application. This information serves as documentation describing an individual's educational background, work history, and most importantly, the details of their direct field experience with the target species and activities being requested. Submitted qualifications must be verifiable in order for them to be valid. The Service reviews the applicants' submitted resume and qualification statement in determining whether an individual meets applicable issuance criteria for the permit. 

We realize that each applicant possesses different levels of experience and qualifications based on a number of factors. It is for this reason that our minimum qualifications are in place to provide the Service with a baseline for consistently determining an individual's "expertise" for conducting a requested activity. We look at each individuals experience and qualifications independently when making a determination of an individual’s ability to perform a permitted activity. When submitting your qualifications statement containing details of your field experience and results of any required exams, we recommend the following information be included with your qualification statement. This following information will assist us in evaluating your overall expertise and ability to independently conduct permitted activities. Please include the following:

1. Letter(s) of reference by the permitted individual(s) from whom you acquired the field experience/training who can quantify and verify the experience received; discuss pertinent details of your field experience and expertise; and provide an assessment of your ability to perform each requested permitted activity independently.

2. Qualification statements should include verifiable field experience not only with the target listed species, but with similar or sympatric species and/or experience conducting similar activities with other species (either listed species or non-listed species).

3. Reference any scientific journal articles you have written and/or published, especially if the articles pertain to similar species/activities.

4. Provide details of your educational and biological background including any degrees received along with any thesis, independent studies, and/or pertinent projects completed.

5. Provide additional details of your environmental background to include any pertinent projects and/or experience working at universities, museums, or consulting firms, government agencies, and/or other environmental organizations along with a statement of your familiarity with pertinent environmental laws and regulations.

Acquiring Field Experience:

Please be as detailed as possible when submitting your qualifications with your permit application. The Service must be able to determine, based on the verifiable information you provide, that you have the expertise to independently conduct the requested activity with the target species. Acquiring Field Experience: To assist you in keeping track of acquired field experience and for subsequently providing the Service with a detailed qualification statement, we recommend that you keep detailed field notes that include the following pertinent information:

1. The name and permit number of the permitted individual(s) you are acquiring field experience from.

2. The specific title of the project the permitted individual is working at (preferably the same title to be used in any reports subsequently submitted to the Service).

3. The specific locations (including the County) where the field experience was acquired.

4. Specific dates of the field experience, including the time of day and total hours in the field. Specify the total time directly observing, handling or otherwise performing a specific permitted activity under the direct supervision of the permitted individual.

5. The specific number of listed species detected, handled, observed, released, or detailed description of any other activity conducted along with any additional documentation on the age class, sex, and overall condition of the observed specimens as appropriate.

6. Copies of field notes or other documentation of any other pertinent field observations such as other species observed (listed or non-listed), habitat characteristics/quality, weather, temperature, etc.

Practical Exams:

Some federally listed species that occur within the Pacific Southwest Region require a practical examination be taken prior to obtaining a recovery permit for that species. It is recommended that the exam be taken prior to obtaining field experience. Practical identification exams are required for the following federally listed species that occur within the jurisdiction of the Pacific Southwest Region:

  • Casey's June beetle (Dinacoma caseyi) (Study Guide)
  • Quino checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha quino) (Study Guide)
  • El Segundo blue butterfly (Euphilotes battoides allyni) (Study Guide)
  • Laguna Mountains skipper (Pyrgus ruralis lagunae) (Study Guide)
  • Delhi sands flower-loving fly (Rhaphiomidas terminatus abdominalis) (Study Guide)
  • Palos Verdes blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis) (Study Guide)
  • Federally listed branchiopods. (Study Guide)
    Included in this grouping are:
    • Conservancy fairy shrimp (Branchinecta conservatio),
    • longhorn fairy shrimp (Branchinecta longiantenna),
    • Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus woottoni), San Diego fairy shrimp (Branchinecta sandiegonensis),
    • vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi), and
    • vernal pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi)

For all species, we recommend that an individual take and pass the appropriate exams prior to obtaining supervised field experience. In addition, please note that for all practical exams, one of the unacceptable errors (regardless of percentage correct) is for the applicant to misidentify the target species.

For any species that require a practical examination, the exam must be taken and passed within 1 year of application for the permit. Test results are only valid for one year. Likewise, if it has been more than one year since an exam was taken for an issued recovery permit, the permittee must retake the exam when applying for a permit renewal. All individuals must re-take the test within one year of a permit action for that species to demonstrate continued competency in identification skills.

Exams are required within the previous 12 months of the date of an application when: 1) applying for a new permit, 2) applying for a permit renewal, 3) a permit holder makes a request to add you to their permit (List of Authorized Individuals), or 4) already listed on someone else's permit, but applying for their own individual permit.

The Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Service Office administers all practical exams for the above mentioned species. The Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Service Office administers the federally listed branchiopod exam. Please contact the Recovery Permit Coordinator at the Region 8 Fish and Wildlife Service Field Office nearest you for additional exam information. To set a time to take required exams, contact the applicable field office.

Minimum qualifications for individual species

Amphibians

Arroyo Toad

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • California red-legged frog

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Santa Cruz long-toed salamander

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • California tiger salamander

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Birds

    Coastal California Gnatcatcher

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Least Bell's Vireo

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Marbled murrelet

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Northern spotted owl

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Yellow-billed cuckoo

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Crustaceans
    Fish

    Tidewater Goby

  • Minimum Qualifications

  • Insects
    Mammals

    Buena vista Lake ornate shrew

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Giant Kangaroo Rat

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Morro Bay Kangaroo Rat

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Pacific Pocket Mouse

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Riparian Brush Rabiit

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • San Joaquin Kit Fox

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Tipton and Fresno Kangaroo Rats

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Stephens' Kangaroo Rat

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Reptiles

    Alameda Whipsnake

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Giant Garter Snake

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • San Francisco Garter Snake

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols

  • Snails

    Morro shoulderband snail

  • Minimum Qualifications
  • Protocols