The Service's National Listing Workplan
As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness and implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and provide the best possible conservation for our nation’s imperiled wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) developed a National Listing Workplan (Workplan) for addressing ESA listing and critical habitat decisions over the next seven years.
Our priority is to administer the ESA more effectively and efficiently. The Workplan enables us to prioritize our workload based on the needs of candidate and petitioned species, while providing greater clarity and predictability about the timing of listing determinations to state wildlife agencies, non-profit organizations and other diverse stakeholders and partners, with the goal of encouraging proactive conservation so that federal protections aren’t needed in the first place. The Workplan represents the conservation priorities of the Service based on its review of scientific information.
The Workplan will enable us to systematically review and address the 362 highest priority pending listing and critical habitat decisions for petitioned and candidate species. The Workplan identifies our schedule for addressing all 30 species currently on the ESA Candidate List, conducting 320 status reviews (also referred to as 12-month findings) for species that have been petitioned for federal protections under the ESA, 11 species for which the Service is undertaking voluntary status reviews to determine whether they are warranted for listing, and one court order.
A species’ inclusion in this workplan does not mean that the species is going to be listed as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA. That determination would be made following a rigorous scientific assessment of the species status to determine whether it meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species. If we determine that the species warrants listing, we would need to undertake the appropriate rule-making process before a species receives the protections of the Act. Our rule-making process requires public comment and scientific peer review before any action is finalized.
Updating the Workplan
The Workplan is designed to be mostly static in nature to meet our objective of providing predictability; however, we recognize that adjustments will need to be made to incorporate new work and information. We will make adjustments with the following in mind: