Endangered Species Program
The ultimate goal of the Endangered Species Act (ESA - (16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.)) is the recovery (and long-term sustainability) of endangered and threatened species and the ecosystems on which they depend. Recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered or threatened species is arrested or reversed, and threats removed or reduced so that the species' survival in the wild can be ensured. The goal of the ESA is the recovery of listed species to levels where protection under the ESA is no longer necessary.
In many instances these threats may be caused by invasive species. They may either directly harm the species by causing mortality or may threaten a species by modifying or destroying the habitat or food source on which that species depends. A variety of methods and procedures are used to recover listed species, such as reduction of threats (including invasive species), protective measures to prevent extinction or further decline, consultation to avoid adverse impacts of Federal activities, habitat acquisition and restoration, and other on-the ground activities for managing and monitoring endangered and threatened species.
The Endangered Species program also works with candidate species. These are species of plants and animals being considered by the Service for listing as threatened or endangered under the ESA, but are not yet the subject of a proposed listing rule. When the Service has sufficient information on biological status and threats to justify preparing a formal proposed rule to list a species, but that action is precluded by other higher priority listing activities, the species is referred to as being a candidate for listing. Threats to these species may also be due to invasive species. The Candidate Conservation Program provides a means for conserving these species. The Service strongly encourages proactive conservation actions that can make listing candidate species unnecessary. Early conservation preserves management options, minimizes the cost of recovery, and reduces the potential for restrictive land use policies in the future.