Endangered Species
Midwest Region


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Endangered Species Program in the Upper Midwest

Conserving and restoring threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems


Why Save Endangered Species?


Video created by Georgia Parham; USFWS


Why Save Endangered Species?

It's complicated. This video provides an answer in pictures and minimal text. Below is an answer from Brett Ratcliffe, Curator and Professor, University of Nebraska State Museum and the World Wildlife Fund. Scroll down further on the page and you will see President Richard Nixon's answer.


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"There is now an ongoing, unprecedented loss of wildlife species diversity throughout the world as well as a decline in the absolute numbers of organisms from the smallest microorganism to the largest mammal. The current loss of biota has several causes. One is the destruction, conversion or degradation of entire ecosystems, with the consequent loss of entire assemblages of species. Another is the accelerating loss of individual species within communities or ecosystems as a result of habitat disturbance, pollution and overexploitation. Third and more subtle is the loss of genetic variability. Selective pressures such as habitat alteration, the presence of chemical toxins or regional climate changes may eliminate some genetically distinct parts of the population, yet not cause extinction of the entire species.

Why worry about one insect that most of us have never seen? The World Wildlife Fund perhaps said it best: "All that lives beneath Earth's fragile canopy is, in some elemental fashion, related. Is born, moves, feeds, reproduces, dies. Tiger and turtle dove; each tiny flower and homely frog; the running child, father to the man and, in ways as yet unknown, brother to the salamander. If mankind continues to allow whole species to perish, when does their peril also become ours?" "



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What We Do

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act. To fulfill our responsibilities, we do the following:


Candidate Conservation: identify and assess declining species that may need Endangered Species Act protection and take steps to conserve those species.


Listing: take steps to list candidate species as endangered or threatened and designate critical habitat. We also remove species from the Threatened and Endangered Species List ("delist") when they no longer need Endangered Species Act protection.


Recovery: protect, conserve and restore listed species. Recovery Report to Congress: 2009 to 2010 (PDF 3.1MB)


Section 7 Technical Assistance

Section 7 consultation guidance for Federal agencies and their applicants (i.e., project proponents).

Section 7 Consultation: all Federal agencies have a responsiblity to conserve threatened and endangered species and to ensure that their actions do not jeopardize the existence of any listed species. Under the authority of Section 7 of the Act, we consult with Federal agencies to help them fulfill their obligations.


Permits: issue permits to "take" listed species, under certain conditions.


Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs): work with Incidental Take permit applicants to help them prepare HCPs that minimize and mitigate the effects of their incidental take.


Grants: provide grants to States under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act. These funds may, in turn, be awarded to private landowners and groups for conservation projects.


State Field Offices

We have Ecological Services Field Offices in each of the eight upper Midwest States. For project reviews, Section 7 consultation, or information about endangered species that you do not find on this site, please contact the Field Office in your state.



“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of
preservation than the rich array of animal life with
which our country has been blessed. It is a many faceted
treasure, of value to scholars, scientists,
and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part
of the heritage we all share as Americans.”


Bloom of the prairie bush clover.  Photo by USFWS: Phil Delphey

Last updated: October 18, 2016