In order to provide the best possible conservation for our nation's imperiled species, we developed a National Listing Workplan (Workplan) for addressing domestic listing and critical habitat decisions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) priority is to implement and administer the ESA effectively and efficiently. The Workplan enables us to prioritize our workload based on the needs of candidate and petitioned species, while providing greater clarity and predictability about the timing of listing determinations to state wildlife agencies, non-profit organizations, and other diverse stakeholders and partners, with the goal of encouraging proactive conservation so that federal protections are not needed in the first place. The Workplan represents the Service’s conservation priorities based on our review of scientific information.
A species' inclusion in the Workplan does not mean it is going to be listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA. That determination would be made following a rigorous scientific assessment of the species' status to determine whether it meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species. If we determine the species warrants listing, we would need to undertake the appropriate rule-making process before a species receives protections under the ESA. Our rule-making process requires public comment and scientific peer review before any action is finalized.
If a petitioned species warrants protections under the ESA, we will seek to issue a listing proposal, rather than adding the species to the candidate list, and will endeavor to simultaneously propose critical habitat designations. Following a proposed rule, the Service plans to issue final rules within statutory deadlines.
Updating the Workplan
The Service updated our National Listing Workplan to reflect our plan of work for fiscal years 2023–2027.
The Workplan is updated regularly to reflect our consideration of new information over time. As we work through the actions on the Workplan, we add new species to forecast priorities and upcoming status reviews a minimum of five years out. Providing this predictability and transparency to stakeholders creates opportunity for proactive conservation efforts that conserve species without needing the ESA's safety net.
The Workplan is designed to provide predictability to our stakeholders and partners; however, adjustments are needed over time to incorporate new work obligations and information. Such adjustments are made with the following in mind:
Our intent is to always provide the public with a projection of our workload for a minimum of five years into the future.
Species with new "substantial" 90-day findings will be assigned a bin number (in coordination with states and others with relevant information) according to our methodology for prioritizing 12-month findings.
Critically imperiled species (Bin 1) will be incorporated into the Workplan as soon as possible.
Remaining species will be incorporated into the Workplan according to their bin number, if feasible, or added to the back end of the Workplan if not.