Behren's silverspot butterfly
Plant and Animal Species Information

The Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office collects and maintains information on listed species that live in Del Norte, western Siskiyou, Humboldt, Trinity, and coastal Mendocino Counties, including legal status, survey and distributional data, life history requirements, recovery needs, population status, threats, and conservation needs.

Click here to access our on-line species list for determining whether there are listed species within an area of interest or use the menu to the left to navigate our species profile pages regarding listed, proposed, and candidate species in our area of jurisdiction.

Section 7 Section 7
Section 7 Consultation The Endangered Species Act (ESA) directs all Federal agencies to work to conserve endangered and threatened species and to use their authorities to further the purposes of the Act. Section 7 of the Act, called "Interagency Cooperation," is the mechanism by which Federal agencies ensure the actions they take, including those they fund or authorize, do not jeopardize the existence of any listed species.

Learn more about Section 7
Western lilies in bloom.

One of the primary roles of the Ecological Services staff in the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office includes consultation with other Federal agencies on their projects that may affect species listed under ESA.

Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act specifies:

"Each Federal agency shall, in consultation with and with the assistance of the Secretary, insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat of such species which is determined ... to be critical ... . In fulfilling the requirements of this paragraph each agency shall use the best scientific and commercial data available."

Through the section 7 consultation program, the Fish and Wildlife Service strives to meet the consultation needs of all Federal agencies. The Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office works with its local Federal partners to emphasize the identification and informal resolution of potential species conflicts in the early stages of project planning. We also provide information about listed, proposed, and candidate species and critical habitats to local Federal agencies planning projects, and applicants seeking Federal permits and licenses. The Service works with Federal agencies on any action that is federally funded, authorized, or carried out and that may affect a listed species or designated critical habitat. We advise the agencies and applicants on ways to avoid adversely impacting these species and habitats and, where appropriate, we provide incidental take statements that allow take of threatened or endangered species that is incidental to an otherwise lawful activity.

Federal agencies, or non-Federal entities doing work authorized, permitted, funded, or otherwise carried out by a Federal agency, should obtain a Species List as the first step in completing a section 7 consultation.


One of the key goals of the Endangered Species Act is to recover species in their native ecosystems to the point where protections of the Endangered Species Act are no longer needed. The Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office conducts recovery activities and funds studies to gather species information and promote conservation actions essential to meeting that goal.

The ultimate goal of the Endangered Species Act is the conservation and subsequent recovery of endangered and threatened species and the ecosystems upon 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' long-term survival in the wild can be ensured. The goal of the ESA is the recovery of listed species to levels where protection under the Act is no longer necessary.

A variety of methods and procedures are used to recover listed species, such as 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 collaborative efforts of the Fish and Wildlife Service and its many partners (Federal, State, and local agencies, Tribal governments, conservation organizations, the business community, landowners, and other concerned citizens) are critical to the recovery of listed species.

Following successful recovery, species may be removed from the list of endangered and threatened species. Two species found in northwestern California, for which recovery efforts have been highly successful and the species removed from the list, are the Aleutian Canada goose, the peregrine falcon, and the bald eagle, found locally in northwestern California and widespread across America.

For additional information regarding endangered species recovery, please visit the Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Southwest web page.

For reporting activities under the federal 10(a)(1)(A) Recovery Permit within Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office jurisdiction, please submit reports digitally to the permits mailbox.

Endangered Species Act (ESA) Listing
California red-legged frog.

The Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, an “Ecological Services” field office of the Fish and Wildlife Service, participates in the process of listing species under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act, or ESA. Through the listing program, the Fish and Wildlife Service determines whether to add a species to the Federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants.

A species is listed under one of two categories, “endangered” or “threatened”, depending on its status and the degree of threats it faces. An endangered species is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range; a threatened species is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. ESA defines “species” broadly to also include subspecies and (for vertebrate animals) distinct population segments.

In order to list a species, the Fish and Wildlife Service must follow a strict legal process known as a “rulemaking (or regulatory) procedure.” Federal agencies must follow this rulemaking procedure to adopt regulations that have the effect of law and apply to all persons and agencies under U.S. jurisdiction. As a first step in assessing the status of a species, we publish “notices of review” that identify species that we believe meet the definition of threatened or endangered (“candidate” species). Through these notices, we seek biological information that contributes to the species’ status reviews.

Once the Fish and Wildlife Service adds an animal or plant to the List, the protective measures authorized by the ESA apply. Such measures include protection from adverse effects of Federal activities (through consultations under section 7 of the ESA); restrictions on taking, transporting, or selling a species; authority for us to develop and carry out recovery plans; authority to purchase important habitat; and Federal aid to cooperating State and Commonwealth wildlife agencies. These efforts contribute to species’ survival and recovery, and assist us in achieving our ultimate goals — to maintain the natural diversity of plants and animals and the ecosystems upon which they depend, and to restore listed species to a level where protection is no longer required.

A species is added to the list when it is determined to be endangered or threatened because of any of the following factors:

  • the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species’ habitat or range;
  • overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; disease or predation;
  • the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms;
  • other natural or manmade factors affecting the species’ survival.
Habitat Conservation Planning (HCP)

In the 1982 amendments to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Congress established a mechanism under section 10(a)(1)(B) authorizing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)and NOAA Fisheries Service (NOAA) (together referred to as Services)to issue to non-Federal entities a permit for the "incidental take" of endangered and threatened wildlife species. This permit allows a non-Federal landowner to proceed with an activity that is legal in all other respects, but results in the "incidental" taking of a listed species. The ESA defines incidental take as "incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity."

A habitat conservation plan, or HCP, must accompany an application for an incidental take permit. The purpose of the HCP is to ensure that the effects of the permitted action on listed species are adequately minimized and mitigated. The permit authorizes the incidental take, not the activity that results in take. The activity itself must comply with other applicable laws and regulations.

For more information on HCPs.

Safe Harbor Agreements (SHA)

Safe Harbor Agreements are voluntary arrangements between the Services and cooperating non-Federal landowners. This policy’s main purpose is to promote voluntary management that benefits listed species on non-Federal property while giving assurances to participating landowners that no additional future regulatory restrictions will be imposed.

Following development of a SHA, the Services will issue an “enhancement of survival” permit that authorizes any necessary future incidental take and provide participating landowners with assurances that no additional restrictions will be imposed as a result of their conservation actions.

For more information on SHAs.

Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA)

What is a candidate species?

Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Services have sufficient information on their biological status and threats to propose them as endangered or threatened under the ESA, but for which development of a proposed listing regulation is precluded by other higher priority listing activities. NOAA, who has jurisdiction over most marine species, defines candidate species more broadly to include species whose status is of concern but more information is needed before they can be proposed for listing.

What are Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances?

CCAAs are formal agreements between the Services and one or more parties to address the conservation needs of proposed or candidate species, or species likely to become candidates, before they become listed as endangered or threatened. The participants voluntarily commit to implementing specific actions that will remove or reduce the threats to these species, thereby contributing to stabilizing or restoring the species so that listing is no longer necessary. The Services provide assurance that no additional future regulatory restrictions will be imposed should the species become listed. The Service has entered into many CCAAs over the years, primarily with other Federal agencies, State and local agencies, and conservation organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy. Some of these have successfully removed threats and listing was avoided.

For more information on CCAAs.

Butterfly with orange, brown, and white wings perched perched on a flower head gathering nectar with another butterfly on the backside of the flower head.
We assess the conservation status of species, using the best scientific information available, and identify those that warrant listing as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. A species that we find warrants a proposal to list as endangered or threatened, but listing is...
A rocky shoreline of a river. The water is calm. Mist and green branches line the river.
The Ecological Services Program works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. Using the best available science, we work with federal, state, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to...
Close up of a California condor. Its pink featherless head contrasts with its black feathers.
We provide national leadership in the recovery and conservation of our nation's imperiled plant and animal species, working with experts in the scientific community to identify species on the verge of extinction and to build the road to recovery to bring them back. We work with a range of public...
A duck flies over a tundra pond.
We use the best scientific information available to determine whether to add a species to (list) or remove from (delist) the federal lists of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. We also determine whether already listed species should be reclassified from threatened to endangered (uplist...
A large bird with brown feathers, white head, and yellow beak flies against a pale blue sky
The Migratory Bird Program works with partners to protect, restore and conserve bird populations and their habitats for the benefit of future generations by: ensuring long-term ecological sustainability of all migratory bird populations, increasing socioeconomic benefits derived from birds,...
Condor soars over mountain ridge.
We work with partners to conserve the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend, developing and maintaining conservation programs for these species to improve their status to the point that Endangered Species Act protection is no longer necessary for survival. This...