Currently, there are more than 500 species awaiting status review and consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We prioritize pending status reviews to be strategic in our workload planning and assignments, to be more transparent about our priorities, and to collaborate effectively with partners to conserve America's most imperiled plants and wildlife.

Our Listing Workplans (linked below) show our annual schedule for completing all types of actions in the listing program workload – both foreign and domestic species – over the next five years. The Workplans include not only status reviews and accompanying 12-month findings for petitioned species, but also status reviews initiated by the Service, proposed and final listing determinations, and proposed and final critical habitat designations. While the prioritization methodology only pertains to upcoming 12-month findings, development of the National Listing Workplans also incorporated the Listing Priority Number (LPN) prioritization scheme that applies to candidate species.

As described in the prioritization methodology, we place each pending status review in one of five priority categories or "bins," based on the available biological data, threats to the species, conservation efforts planned or underway that can address those threats, and the existence of any new or developing science that can help inform the status review. The methodology will ensure the species most in need of consideration for listing are addressed first.

The five prioritization bins for pending status reviews, listed in priority order, are:

  1. Highest Priority: Critically Imperiled – Species that appear to be critically imperiled and in need of immediate action
  2. Strong Data Available on Species' Status – Species for which we have existing strong scientific data supporting a clear decision on status
  3. New Science Underway to Inform Key Uncertainties – Species for which important emerging science on their status is underway to answer key questions that may influence the petition finding; uncertainty about species' status can be resolved in a reasonable timeframe
  4. Conservation Efforts in Development or Underway – species for which proactive conservation efforts by states, landowners and stakeholders are underway or being developed. The conservation efforts should be organized and likely to reduce threats to the species. Conservation efforts should be developed or in place within a reasonable timeframe to be considered for placement in this bin
  5. Limited Data Currently Available – Species for which there is little information on status and threats available to inform a petition finding

View the final methodology.

Contact Information


Foreign Species Listing Workplan

In order to provide the best possible conservation for imperiled species worldwide, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed a workplan for addressing Endangered Species Act listing decisions on foreign (non-U.S.) species throughout the next six years.


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