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Endangered and Threatened Species Recovery Program

Delistings and Reclassifications

The primary goal of the endangered species program is to ensure the survival of species and the habitats upon which they depend and to recover the species to the point at which protection under the Endangered Species Act is no longer warranted. Delisting (removing species from the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants) can occur for one of three reasons: 1) species extinction, 2) species recovery, or 3) original data for classification in error.

Delisting as a result of recovery is the culmination of an often long and arduous process involving planning to set the recovery objectives, implementation to address these objectives, and evaluation and monitoring of recovery implementation to ensure that all objectives have been met. Quality status surveys to determine population levels, recruitment levels, habitat quality, and whether recovery plan objectives have been met are usually required. Therefore, the amount of funding provided to the recovery program, particularly that used for implementation of approved recovery actions, is a key factor for a successful delisting program.

The delisting process follows the same procedure used to list species. A proposal is published in the Federal Register; public comment is invited and incorporated into the final decision, which is made within a year of the proposal. The proposed rule must specifically outline the level of monitoring anticipated for at least 5 years following delisting, and the parties, usually the States, responsible for this monitoring are named.

While the delisting of the American alligator and Atlantic Coast, Florida, and Alabama population of the brown pelican represent the ultimate measure of success of the Act, accomplishments such as the prevention of extinctions and significant declines in species' populations and their habitats represent noteworthy successes of the program as well. It is important to remember that the loss and degradation of habitat and the decline of species to a point near extinction often is a slow, gradual process, and, therefore, reversing that degradation and decline and moving toward recovery requires a long-term commitment. A concerted, coordinated effort to address a species' needs throughout its range is necessary. The Service is currently considering delisting or reclassifying from endangered to threatened status the species listed below. In some cases, the Service is in the process of conducting status surveys to determine the appropriateness of these actions; in other cases, the Service has already determined appropriateness and is preparing proposals to carry out delisting or reclassification.

Region Species
1American peregrine falcon (reclassification)
Columbian white-tailed deer (reclassification)
Cuneate bidens (delisting)
Hawaiian hawk (reclassification)
Loch Lomond coyote-thistle (reclassification)
MacFarlane's four-o'clock (reclassification)
Pahrump poolfish (reclassification)
2Gypsum wild-buckwheat (delisting)
Lloyd's hedgehog cactus (delisting)
McKittrick pennyroyal (delisting)
Siler pincushion cactus (reclassification)
Tumamoc globe-berry (delisting)
3Bald eagle (reclassification)
4Cape Sable seaside sparrow (reclassification)
Inflated heelsplitter (delisting)
Louisiana pearlshell (reclassification)
Magazine Mountain shagreen (delisting)
Slackwater darter (delisting)
5Small whorled pogonia (reclassification)
Virginia round-leaf birch (reclassification)
6Kendall Warm Springs dace (reclassification)
Maguire daisy (reclassification)
Spineless hedgehog cactus (delisting)
Uinta Basin hookless cactus (delisting)
7Arctic peregrine falcon (delisting)

Some of the above delistings and reclassifications are due to taxonomic changes in the species' classification (e.g., cuneate bidens, Lloyd's hedgehog cactus, spineless hedgehog cactus) or discovery of additional secure populations (e.g., gypsum wild-buckwheat, tumamoc globe-berry, Maguire daisy). All listings are based on the best biological and commercial (trade) information available at the time of listing, and new data routinely become available as studies progress. When new information becomes available after listing indicating that species should not receive the Act's protection, the Service publishes proposals to remove those species from the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

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