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Endangered Species Overview

Delta Smelt, Peter Johnson USFWS
Delta Smelt, Peter Johnson USFWS

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 provides a critical safety net for America's at-risk native fish, wildlife and plants. Our office was established to implement that safety net in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and San Francisco Bay of California.

The purpose of the ESA is to conserve "the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend" and to conserve and recover listed species. Under the law, species may be listed as either "endangered" or "threatened". All species of plants and animals, except pest insects, are eligible for listing.

Recovery is the ultimate goal of the ESA. Together with stakeholders we implement research, species protection and habitat restoration to keep at-risk species off the ESA list when possible and create a road map for recovery for those currently on the list.


Contact the Endangered Species Branch of our office at 916-930-5603 if you have a project that might affect one of our species


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains the Information, Planning, and Conservation System (IPaC) as an online conservation tool to help people explore the landscape and minimize project-related conflicts with natural resources.

With IPaC, you can generate species lists and view wetlands, GAP land cover, USFWS critical habitat, and other nature resource map layers.

Follow this link to visit IPaC: ecos.fws.gov/ipac (For an unofficial list of species in a county, visit TESS.)

For assistance with a U.S. FWS ECOS web application available from the ECOS home page: Please use their help desk web form or call them at 970-226-9468, 8am - 4pm Mountain Time, M-F.

For anadromous (ocean-going) fishes such as salmonids and sturgeons, contact a National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service Office.