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Endangered and Threatened Species Recovery Program

Introduction


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The Endangered Species Act (Act) is one of the most comprehensive pieces of environmental legislation ever enacted by Congress. Fiscal year (FY) 1993, the 20-year anniversary of the Act, coincides with profound Congressional and public interest on the Act's forthcoming reauthorization and wide-ranging debate over its purposes, effects, and accomplishments. The Act calls for the conservation of threatened and endangered species and of the ecosystems upon which they depend. The Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) responsibilities under the Act fall into a hierarchy of activities from mandatory to discretionary: consultation, listing, recovery (planning and implementation), permitting, and prelisting.

Between the end of FY 1990 and FY 1992, the total number of species listed in the United States and abroad increased from 1,116 to 1,258 species. Associated with this increase in listed species was an increase in the Service's workload of section 7 consultations, recovery planning, and recovery implementation. The number of species identified as candidates for listing under the Act has increased over time to more than 3,000.

As the challenges of the endangered species program have increased, so have the successes. The American bald eagle is making a remarkable comeback, the American alligator no longer requires Endangered Species Act protection, and the Aleutian Canada goose was recently reclassified from endangered to the less critical threatened category because of dramatic population increases over the years. These are just a few of the recent and highly publicized endangered species success stories.

But lesser known are the hundreds of endangered and threatened species of plants, snails, butterflies, fishes, mussels, and other wildlife appearing on the pages of the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Some are benefitting greatly from protection under the Endangered Species Act while others are still struggling.

This Report to Congress represents an accounting of the recovery progress for all 711 federally listed endangered and threatened species under the jurisdiction of the Fish and Wildlife Service occurring in the United States and Trust Territories as of September 30, 1992. While some of the species covered in this report are found in both the United States and foreign countries, those found only in foreign countries are not included because the Service has no authority to implement recovery programs for species outside U.S. jurisdiction. Specifically, the report contains information on the status of recovery plan development, the status of all listed species in the U.S., a State-by-State breakdown of listed species, and selected species highlights by State. The selected species highlights summarize species status, recovery achievements, recovery needs, and partnerships, from well-known species such as the black-footed ferret to lesser known ones such as the Navasota ladies'-tresses. The highlights summarize some of the notable achievements that have been made in endangered and threatened species recovery.

This report is a requirement of the 1988 amendments to the Endangered Species Act and will be prepared every 2 years. The report does not address species under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service.


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