Ecological Services
Northeast Region
About the Recovery Program More Resources

The Recovery Program is designed to meet the Endangered Species Act's goal of conserving threatened and endangered species within the ecosystems upon which they depend. This requires a concerted effort to reverse the species' decline by removing or adequately reducing threats to its continued existence. Once the species' long-term survival in the wild is secured, the protections of the ESA are no longer required.

Recovery involves the use of a variety of conservation tools, such as restoring and acquiring habitat, removing invasive species, conducting surveys, monitoring individual populations, and breeding species in captivity to release them into their historic range. Recovery may also utilize ESA regulatory tools such as "special rules" under section 4(d); consultation with federal agencies under section 7; and scientific permits, Safe Harbor and Habitat Conservation permits, and experimental populations under section 10. Research and public outreach are also critical components of the program.

Recovery is accomplished by working with key partners to prepare recovery plans and implement actions in accordance with those plans. As required by the ESA, recovery plans outline needed actions, criteria for determining when the necessary level of conservation has been achieved, and time and cost estimates for meeting these criteria. Recovery plans are not regulatory documents, but they provide vital guidance on how to best conserve listed species.

Collaborative efforts are central to recovery success. Our partners include federal, state, and local agencies, tribal governments, conservation organizations, the business community, landowners and other concerned citizens.

In addition to preparing recovery plans and implementing recovery actions, program efforts focus on tracking the recovery progress of each listed species and assessing the species' status through 5-year reviews. These reviews cover the species' biological status and assess the current status of the threats facing the species. They culminate in a recommendation regarding whether to retain or change the listing classification of the species; when feasible, a recommended change in classification triggers the listing process.

Back to Recovery

National Endangered Species

National Recovery Program

NMFS Endangered Species

Recovery fact sheet (pdf)

Endangered Species Bulletin

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Last updated: July 20, 2015