Endangered Species Act Milestones: 2020s

Thanks to the hard work of state, regional, Tribal and federal agencies, as well as private partners, significant progress has been made conserving and recovering the humpback chub. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in October 2021 that it reclassified the Colorado River fish from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The beginning of the new decade has so far seen many successes in the face of ongoing conservation challenges. Our growth into a nation of more than 300 million people inevitably creates more threats to the health and well-being of our native fish, wildlife, and plant species. Much of the decade remains unwritten, but maintaining a strong, effective ESA – one that is responsive to both the needs of our imperiled resources and the concerns of our citizens – is high on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's agenda. All Americans can take pride in the fact that, under the ESA, the black-footed ferret, western snowy plover, and humpback chub have rebounded from the brink of extinction. We can also celebrate the fact that many species no longer need the ESA's protection and have been removed from the list of threatened and endangered species, including the Kirtland's warbler, running buffalo clover, and snail darter.





  • The Fender's blue butterfly is reclassified from endangered to threatened as a result of partnership-driven conservation. Read the news release.
  • The Service declares five species – San Clemente Island paintbrush, lotus, larkspur and bush-mallow plants and San Clemente Bell’s sparrow – as fully recovered. Read the news release.
  • Following decades of successful conservation and large-scale restoration work, the Service proposed removing the wood stork from the federal list of endangered and threatened species. Read the news release.
  • For the first time since reintroduction into the wild, the population of Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico soars past 200. The milestone comes at the 25th anniversary of reintroduction efforts. Read the news release.
  • The Service finds ESA protections are no longer needed for Colorado hookless cactus and propose removing the species from the list of federally threatened and endangered species. Read the news release.
  • The Service announces the recovery of Furbish's lousewort, one of the first federally protected plants, crediting decades of conservation efforts by partners, including the forest products industry. Read the news release.
  • The Service announces the successful recovery of golden paintbrush. Read the news release
  • The Service announces the recovery of the Okaloosa darter, crediting long-term partnerships with federal, state, local and private citizens. Read the news release.
  • The Service proposes removing the Apache trout from the list of Endangered and Threatened Species. The recovery of Arizona's state fish is a culmination of decades of hard work and the cooperation of many partners. Read the news release.