Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
A species is considered "recovered" when the factors that initially led to its listing are remedied and protection under the Endangered Species Act is no longer needed. For many species, concerted efforts are required on the part of Federal and State authorities, as well as private parties, to enact laws and regulations and to reach agreements to protect listed species independent of the Endangered Species Act. Only when adequate legal mechanisms independent of the Act are implemented to manage a listed species whose populations have recovered can the species be truly said to no longer require Endangered Species Act protection and thus be considered for delisting.
The 1988 amendments to the Act recognized this potential conflict involving recovered species and their removal from the protective oversight of the Act. Section 4 of the Act was amended by adding a requirement that recovered species be monitored for at least 5 years after delisting. Recognizing the importance of and need for cooperation with State governments, the Service's goal is to rely on States to accomplish monitoring except in cases where the species are wideranging or migratory beyond State lines. In the event of a "significant risk to the well being" of any delisted species, the Secretary must use his emergency authority under section 4(b)(7) to relist the species. The Service is currently developing internal guidance for the monitoring of recovered (i.e., delisted) species.