The ultimate goal of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is the recovery (and subsequent conservation) of endangered and threatened species and the ecosystems on which they depend. A variety of methods and procedures are used to recover listed species, such as protective measures to prevent extinction or further decline, consultation to avoid adverse impacts of Federal activities, habitat acquisition and restoration, and other on-the-ground activities for managing and monitoring endangered and threatened species. The collaborative efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and its many partners (Federal, State, and local agencies, Tribal governments, conservation organizations, the business community, landowners, and other concerned citizens) are critical to the recovery of listed species.
Recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered or threatened species is arrested or reversed, and threats removed or reduced so that the species' long-term survival in the wild can be ensured. The goal of the ESA is the recovery of listed species to levels where protection under the ESA is no longer necessary.
The Service's Recovery Program staff works with its many partners to take necessary measures to prevent extinction of species; prepares and coordinates implementation of recovery plans to ensure effective recovery actions; and implements actions to reverse the decline of listed species and expedite full recovery. Recovery plans, documents prepared for listed species that detail the specific actions needed for recovery, provide a blueprint for private, Federal, and State cooperation in the conservation of threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems. A plan may cover one or several species.
Under the Act, the Service maintains a list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plant species at 50 CFR 17.11 (for animals) and 17.12 (for plants). The Act also requires that we conduct a review of listed species at least once every 5 years and on the basis of such reviews determine whether or not any species should be removed from the List (delisted), or reclassified from endangered to threatened (downlisted) or from threatened to endangered (uplisted). Any change in federal classification requires a separate rule making process distinct from the 5-year review.