Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region
Endangered Species

Species Recovery and Conservation

Species Recovery and Conservation

The term “conservation” in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) means to use all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered or threatened species to the point at which protection under the act is no longer needed.  Conservation of species can also mean, “ the planned management of such species to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.”  The Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office (Yreka FWO) promotes conservation of many species, including species that are currently listed under the ESA, species that are Candidates for listing, and other species of special interest.



Species recovery is one of the most important jobs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).  When a species is recovered, protection under the ESA is no longer necessary.  Recovery is declared when populations rebound and the threats that lead to listing are no longer an issue.


A species does not recover on its own; it takes a carefully-crafted and scientifically-based plan.  Recovery plans are just that.  They describe management actions needed to bring about recovery, measureable criteria by which a species may be delisted, and estimates of time and money needed to bring about recovery.  The specific requirements of a recovery plan are described in the Section 4(f) of Endangered Species Act .


Once a recovery plan has been written, the FWS works with State, Local, and other Federal Agencies; private landowners; and non-governmental organizations to implement the plan.  Recovery plan implementation takes time, cooperation, creativity, and dedication in order to be successful.  Additionally, recovery plans must be adaptable and incorporate new information as it becomes available. 


The Yreka FWO is directly involved in the implementation of recovery plans.  The following are some of our recent recovery plan implementation highlights:


The 12-member Yreka Phlox Recovery Team developed a strategy to recover this endangered plant and published the “Recovery Plan for Phlox hirsuta (Yreka Phlox)” in 2006.  In 2007, the FWS published a 5-year status review that recommended no change in the endangered listing status of this species.  The 5-year status review was undertaken as a requirement of section 4(c)(2)(A) of the Endangered Species Act.  In 2008, to implement the recovery plan, Yreka FWO initiated a long-term population and threats monitoring program pilot study on four of the five locations where this species is known to occur.  In cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game and the City of Yreka, team members collected seeds to establish a seed bank.  Yreka FWO works regularly with the City of Yreka and Siskiyou County to protect occupied Yreka phlox habitat.

Yreka Phlox, Phlox hirsuta.  Photo by Nadine Kanim, Yreka FWO
Northern Spotted Owl, Strix occidentalis caurina, USFWS file photo
Yreka Phlox, Phlox hirsuta. Photo by Nadine Kanim, Yreka FWO Northern Spotted Owl, Strix occidentalis caurina. USFWS file photo

A Yreka FWO staff has been assigned to lead the Klamath Province Work Group under the Northern Spotted Recovery Plan. The primary task of the Klamath Province Work Group is to evaluate and characterize the risk posed by wildfire to spotted owl habitats and make recommendations for long-term spotted owl conservation approaches for the Klamath Province. While the recovery plan currently identifies a network of spotted owl conservation areas for the Klamath Provinces of Oregon and California, this may or may not be the best long-term strategy for these wildfire-prone landscapes.  Members of the Klamath Province Work Group represent a wide range of scientific expertise including forest and landscape ecology, fire ecology and management, and spotted owl biology.  Additional longer-term tasks for the Klamath Province Work Group are to develop and coordinate research and monitoring activities that address uncertainty concerning sustaining spotted owl habitat in fire-prone landscapes.

Recovery plans have been written for several species that are listed within the Klamath Basin:


Arabis macdonaldiana, McDonald’s rock-cress

Astragalus applegatei, Applegate’s milk-vetch

Fritillaria gentneri, Gentner mission-bells

Orcuttia tenuis, slender Orcutt grass 


          Branchinecta lynchi, vernal pool fairy shrimp


           Chasmistes brevirostris, shortnose sucker

          Deltistes luxatus, Lost River sucker         


          Brachyramphus marmoratus, marbled murrelet


Please follow this link for more information on Species Recovery and Recovery Plans.



Candidate Species Conservation


Candidate species are plants and animals for which the FWS has sufficient information on their biological status and threats to propose them as endangered or threatened under the ESA, but for which listing is precluded by other higher priority listing activities.  Candidate species can still receive protection, however, through Candidate Conservation Agreements.  Candidate Conservation Agreements are agreements between the FWS and one or more other parties that address the conservation needs of a species.  They may be developed for species that have been proposed for listing, species that are candidates for listing, or species that are likely to be proposed or candidates in the future.


Yreka FWO and the U.S. Forest Service, Klamath National Forest (KNF) are implementing a draft Conservation Agreement that identifies and schedules management actions to remove or reduce the threats to the Siskiyou mariposa lily (Calochortus persistens), a Federal candidate species.  Recent actions include manual control of the noxious weed dyer’s woad (Isatis tinctoria) on 140 acres around Siskiyou mariposa lily populations near Gunsight Peak and Mahogany Point, northwest of the city of Yreka, California; and coordination with the Siskiyou County Department of Agriculture to chemically treat private lands in the same area.  The two agencies have also improved coordination with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, CAL Fire, resulting in better protection for Siskiyou mariposa lily during wildfire suppression actions.  Because new populations of Siskiyou mariposa lily have recently been discovered on Cottonwood Peak and Little Cottonwood Peak, north of Yreka, the Yreka FWO, KNF, and the California Department of Fish and Game have been working with the Siskiyou County Department of Agriculture to make sure that dyer’s woad does not become a threat to the species in this area, as well.


See Working With Private Landowners to read more about how Yreka FWO is working for Species Recovery and Conservation.