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A large black bear with a small cub nestled in the upper branches of a hardwood tree.
Information icon Louisiana black bear female with her two cubs in a tree. Photo by Clint Turnage, USDA.

Endangered species and recovery

One of the primary responsibilities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. Congress defined “species” to include subspecies, varieties, and, for vertebrates, distinct population segments.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is America’s strongest conservation law. Originally passed by Congress in 1973, the ESA is jointly administered by the Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The Service has primary responsibility for terrestrial and freshwater organisms, while the responsibilities of NMFS are mainly marine wildlife such as whales and anadromous fish like salmon.

All species of plants and animals, except pest insects, are eligible for listing as endangered or threatened. Learn more about how we work to conserve species in the Southeast region.

Download a list of threatened and endangered species by parish in Louisiana.

Survey Protocols, Guidelines and Recommendations

Notice of funding opportunities

Guidance on determining need for incidental take permit under ESA Section 10(a)(1)(B)

Are you unsure whether you need an incidental take permit? Download the questionnaire or decision tree to learn more.

Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) provide for partnerships with non-federal parties to conserve the ecosystems upon which listed species depend, ultimately contributing to their recovery. HCPs are planning documents required as part of an application for an incidental take permit. They describe the anticipated effects of the proposed taking; how those impacts will be minimized, or mitigated; and how the HCP is to be funded. HCPs can apply to both listed and non-listed species, including those that are candidates or have been proposed for listing. Conserving species before they are in danger of extinction or are likely to become so can also provide early benefits and prevent the need for listing.

HCP documents

Incidental take permits

Private landowners, corporations, state or local governments, or other non-federal landowners who wish to conduct activities on their land that might incidentally harm (or “take”) a species listed as threatened or endangered must first obtain an incidental take permit from the Service.

Safe Harbor Agreements

A Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) is a voluntary agreement involving private or other non-federal property owners whose actions contribute to the recovery of species listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA. The agreement is between cooperating property owners and the Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for most listed marine and anadromous fish species.

Learn more about safe harbor agreements.

Listed and at-risk species in Louisiana

      Learn more about the national endangered species program.

      Recovery of the Louisiana black bear

      In 2016, the Service removed the Louisiana black bear from the ESA list of threatened and endangered wildlife because it had recovered sufficiently., due to the active partnerships of private landowners, state and federal agencies, universities and non-governmental organizations. Since the Louisiana black bear was listed in 1992, voluntary landowner incentive-based habitat restoration programs and environmental regulations have not only stopped the net loss of forested lands in the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial River Valley, but have resulted in significant habitat gains. A major factor in this positive habitat trend is the success of incentive-based private land restoration programs, such as the Wetland reserve program. Since 1992, more than 148,000 acres of habitat have been permanently protected and/or restored through the WRP program. Additional private lands have been restored through the efforts of private landowners and organizations. Over 65,000 additional acres of bottomland hardwood forest have been protected and restored through the efforts of groups such as Wildlife Mississippi, Mississippi Land Trust Mississippi River Trust, Black Bear Conservation Coalition, Bear Education and Restoration Group of Mississippi and the East Texas Black Bear Task Force.

      Recovery and delisting resources

      USACE agreements for ESA review

      Louisiana black bear content

      Louisiana LA

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