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Endangered and Threatened Species Recovery Program

Section 6

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Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to enter into a cooperative agreement with any State that establishes and maintains an adequate and active program for the conservation of endangered and threatened species. Under section 6, the Service provides 75 percent of project funds (90 percent when two or more States cooperate on the same species) that can be used for tasks covering all phases of the Act, from prelisting to delisting. The applicable State would cover the remaining project costs.

These grants are appropriated from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, which was established by the 1988 amendments to the Act. This fund is authorized up to the level of 5 percent of the combined amounts covered annually in the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration and the Sport Fish Restoration accounts, and these amounts are authorized to be appropriated annually. The authorized amount from those two sources is approximately $22 million annually and continues to increase. By the end of FY 1992, the fund had accumulated an estimated $76 million for appropriation. However, in FY 1991 and FY 1992, $6.674 and $6.620 million were allocated annually, respectively.

To qualify for funding under section 6, States must have entered into a cooperative agreement with the Service. To obtain a cooperative agreement, a State must:

  1. Have the necessary legal authority to conserve resident species of fish or wildlife or plants determined by either the State agency or the Fish and Wildlife Service to be endangered or threatened;
  2. Have an acceptable established conservation program consistent with the purposes and policies of the Act;
  3. Have the authority to conduct investigations on the status and needs of resident species;
  4. Have the authority to acquire habitat or interests therein for the conservation of resident endangered or threatened species; and
  5. Provide for public participation in the designation of State-listed species.

All 50 States, as well as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam, are now under cooperative agreements with the Service for animals. Eleven States do not have plant agreements. States are full partners with the Service in endangered species matters. Not all States are funded to support large endangered species efforts, but all are intensely interested and supportive. They have local biological expertise, contacts with local governments and private landowners, and general knowledge of State institutions and customs the Service could never match.

Grants are authorized to the States and Territories for conservation of threatened and endangered species and for monitoring the status of candidate and recovered species. Consideration is given to:

  1. The relative urgency in terms of a species' survival to initiate a program to restore and protect an endangered or threatened species;
  2. The potential for restoring endangered or threatened species within a State;
  3. The readiness of a State to proceed with a conservation program;
  4. The importance of monitoring the status of recovered species within a State to assure that such species do not return to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to the Act are again necessary; and
  5. The importance of monitoring the status of candidate species within a State to prevent a significant risk to the well-being of any such species.

Given the number of listed species and their needs, the majority of funding to date has been used to support implementation of recovery actions. Often monitoring is needed to determine if recovery activities are working. As funds permit, efforts are placed on candidates. As more species are delisted and as funds are available, more attention is likely to be placed on monitoring recovered species.

According to figures provided from the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, readily identifiable expenditures reported by States that responded to the Service's request totaled over $64 million in FY 1991 and $131 million in FY 1992. In FY 1991, States spent approximately 32 percent more than the Fish and Wildlife Service on endangered species. In FY 1992, they spent over twice as much as the Service.

Many worthwhile projects have been conducted under section 6. For example, in Virginia alone, in FY 1992 the following section 6 activities were conducted: Roanoke logperch recolonization studies, endangered mussel surveys and habitat protection, mussel transplants, piping plover surveys and habitat protection, Virginia northern flying squirrel distribution studies, northeastern beach tiger beetle protection strategy development, Peter's Mountain mallow monitoring and DNA studies, and Virginia round-leaf birch monitoring.

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