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Endangered and Threatened Species Recovery Program

Overview


JPG-Volunteers planting at Antioch Dunes NWR

When Congress passed the Endangered Species Act [16 U.S.C. 1531 et. seq.] in 1973, it set clear public policy that the people of the United States were to act to prevent the destruction of nature's resource diversity. The Act established a strong leadership role for the Federal Government in the conservation of species at risk of extinction. Congress envisioned a network of international, national, State, and private organizations working together toward common goals.

The Act was passed to provide a means to conserve the ecosystems upon which endangered and threatened species depend and to provide a program for the conservation of these species. "Conserve" was defined as the use of "all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this Act are no longer necessary...." The Act further declared that the policy of Congress is for all Federal departments and agencies to seek to conserve endangered and threatened species and that they shall use their own authorities in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. Read in conjunction with the statutory definition of "conserve," Congress made it clear that all Federal agencies should promote the recovery of listed species.

On October 7, 1988, President Reagan signed into law a bill amending the Endangered Species Act and authorizing increased appropriations to implement the Act through FY 1992 (Public Law 100-478). One of the major amendments made more specific the general requirement that the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce develop and implement recovery plans. The amendment further directs the Secretaries to report every 2 years on the status of efforts to develop and implement recovery plans for all listed species and on the status of all species for which recovery plans have been developed.

Recovery is the cornerstone and ultimate purpose of the endangered species program. Recovery is the process by which the decline of an endangered or threatened species is arrested or reversed, and threats to its survival are neutralized, so that its long-term survival in nature can be ensured. The goal of this process is to restore listed species to a point where they are secure, self-sustaining components of their ecosystem so as to allow delisting. The Secretary of the Interior has delegated responsibility for endangered and threatened species recovery to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The primary objectives of the Service's recovery program are to: (1) identify those ecosystems and organisms that face the highest degree of threat, (2) determine tasks necessary to reduce or eliminate the threats, (3) apply the resources available to the highest priority recovery tasks, and (4) reclassify and delist species as appropriate.

This report is the second Report to Congress on the status of the recovery program for federally listed endangered and threatened species under the Secretary of the Interior's jurisdiction. This second Report to Congress differs from the 1990 report in a few ways. In the 1990 report, the status of species was provided only for those with recovery plans; this report provides the status of all listed species in the United States. The 1990 report provided summaries of current and planned recovery activities for all federally protected U.S. species under the Service's jurisdiction. This report provides selected species highlights by State for those species for which notable recovery achievements have been made.


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