Five-Year Reviews of Listed Species

To make sure that all species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act continue to have the appropriate level of protection, we conduct assessments of their status once every five years. We call these five-year reviews.

Search five-year reviews of southeastern species.

Possible Outcomes

A five-year review utilizes the best available scientific and commercial data on a species to determine whether its status has changed since the time of its listing or its last status review.

Upon completion of a five-year review, we can make four possible recommendations:

  • Reclassify the species from threatened to endangered (uplist)
  • Reclassify the species from endangered to threatened (downlist)
  • Remove the species from the List (delist), or
  • Maintain the species’ current classification.

A five-year review does not automatically change a species’ protections or status, it only presents recommendations. Any change to a species’ federal status requires a separate rulemaking process which is published in the Federal Register which is open to public comment, and subject to peer review..

A biologist writing on a sample in the field.

A biologist labels a pitcher plant specimen she collected. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

What We Consider

A five-year review begins with biologists gathering the best available scientific and commercial data regarding the species.

To facilitate this process, we publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing the species under review and requesting any relevant information we should consider, particularly any information that has become available since the original listing determination or most recent status review. Such information includes:

  • Species biology, including but not limited to population trends, distribution, abundance, demographics, and genetics
  • Habitat conditions, including but not limited to amount, distribution, and suitability
  • Conservation measures that have benefited the species
  • Threat status and trends
  • Other new information, data, or corrections, including but not limited to changes in taxonomy or nomenclature and identification of erroneous information contained in the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

Benefits

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works continually to use the best available scientific information in implementing our responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act. This includes incorporating new information and assessing ongoing conservation efforts.

A five-year review affords us the opportunity to periodically take a comprehensive look at the full body of information available for a species and assess its progress toward recovery. These reviews assist us and our partners in identifying conservation needs and better targeting and prioritizing conservation efforts for federally listed species.

Two different pinecones in a gloved hand.

A biologist holds red spruce pinecones in a gloved hand. Photo by Gary Peeples, USFWS.

How to Participate

Visit federalregister.gov to search for a specific species, or browse the “Endangered and Threatened Species” section.

Instructions for submitting information are provided in the notices announcing the species we are reviewing. If you submit information, please support it with documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, methods used to gather and analyze the data, and/or copies of any pertinent publications, reports, or letters by knowledgeable sources. We will consider all information submitted, but raw data that has not been analyzed or summarized may have limited usefulness.

Index of Five-Year Reviews of Southeastern Species