For more than 45 years, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has prevented the probable extinction of hundreds of species across the nation and contributed to the recovery of many others. Additionally, other efforts using the Service's ESA tools have contributed to improving the status of unlisted or candidate species. Landowners – including private citizens, tribes, conservation organizations, businesses, state and local agencies, other federal agencies – have all contributed to these efforts.
If you are interested in helping recover listed species or improving the status of candidate or other unlisted species, or if you have a project that may affect listed species, click on the links below to find additional information.
Safe Harbor Agreements
Safe Harbor Agreements (SHAs) are voluntary agreements involving private or other non-federal property owners whose actions contribute to the recovery of species listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA. These agreements are between cooperating non-federal property owners and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for most listed marine and anadromous fish species.
Candidate Conservation Agreements
Candidate Conservation Agreements (CCAs) are voluntary conservation agreements between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and one or more public or private parties. The Service works with its partners to identify threats to candidate species, plan the measures needed to address the threats and conserve these species, identify willing landowners, develop agreements, and design and implement conservation measures and monitor their effectiveness.
Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances
Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs) expand on the success of traditional CCAs by providing non-federal landowners with additional incentives for engaging in voluntary proactive conservation through assurances that limit future conservation obligations. One of the primary reasons for developing the CCAA program was to address landowner concerns about the potential regulatory implications of having a listed species on their land. The CCAA program specifically targets non-federal landowners and provides them with the assurance that if they implement various conservation activities, they will not be subject to additional restrictions if the species becomes listed under the ESA. These assurances are only available to non-federal entities for actions on non-federal lands.
Conservation banks are permanently protected lands that contain natural resource values. These lands are conserved and permanently managed for species that are endangered, threatened, candidates for listing as endangered or threatened, or are otherwise species-at-risk. Conservation banks function to offset adverse impacts to these species that occurred elsewhere, sometimes referred to as off-site mitigation. In exchange for permanently protecting the land and managing it for these species, the Service approves a specified number of habitat or species credits that bank owners may sell.
We work formally and informally with a large variety of groups and individuals to further species conservation. Partnerships for protecting and recovering endangered and threatened species have been established between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies, state governments, private landowners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and tribes. Some of the many partners involved in species conservation are listed below.