Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Annual List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act Protection

November 22, 2013


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Yadkin River goldenrod.

Yadkin River goldenrod. Credit: USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released the Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly status appraisal of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. Three species have been removed from candidate status and three have a change in priority from the last review conducted in November 2012.  There are now 146 species recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.
“Protecting America’s most at-risk wildlife one of our highest priorities,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “We are currently working with landowners and partners across the nation to implement voluntary conservation agreements on some 5 million acres of habitat for more than 130 candidate species, helping address some of the threats they face before they are ever listed under the ESA.”
Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has enough information on their status and the threats they face to propose as threatened or endangered, but for which a proposed listing rule is precluded by other, higher priority listing actions. The annual review and identification of candidate species helps landowners and natural resource managers understand which species need to be conserved, allowing them to address threats and work to preclude the need to list the species.
Although candidate species do not receive ESA protection, the Service works to conserve them and their habitats using several tools: a grants program funds conservation projects by private landowners, states and territories; and two voluntary programs ­– Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs) and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs) ­– engage participants to implement specific actions that remove or reduce the threats to candidate species, which helps  stabilize or restore the species and can preclude the need for ESA listing.
For example, the Service’s Southeast region completed a CCA with Alcoa Power Generating Inc. to conserve the Yadkin River goldenrod.  This plant occurs in two discrete locations along a 2.5-mile stretch of the Yadkin River in North Carolina.   The continuing implementation of the CCA fully addresses threats to the species by controlling invasive exotic vegetation and implementing a propagation and population expansion program and includes regular monitoring and reporting.  As a result of these efforts, the goldenrod no longer meets the definition of a candidate species and was removed from the candidate list. 
The removal of the other two species announced today – Brand’s phacelia and Orcutt’s hazardia (two plants native to California and Baja California, Mexico) – was based on new information that provided a better understanding on the range and distribution of populations, as well as implementation of management actions that addressed habitat loss and degradation and impacts from recreational activities.
All candidate species are assigned a listing priority number based on the magnitude and imminence of the threats they face. When adding species to the list of threatened or endangered species, the Service addresses species with the highest listing priority first. Today’s notice announces changes in priority for three species – the southern Idaho ground squirrel, Kentucky arrow darter, and Cumberland arrow darter – based on changes in taxonomy. 
The Service is soliciting additional information on the candidate species, as well as information on other species that may warrant protection under the ESA. This information will be valuable in preparing listing documents and future revisions or supplements to the candidate notice of review.
The complete notice and list of proposed and candidate species appears in the Federal Register and can be found online at

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