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Recovery Program: Endangered and Threatened Species, 1994

Analyses and Status of Listed Species

JPG-Yaqui chub JPG-Houston toad

Recovery Program Analyses

Endangered Species Recovery Appropriations

Congressional funding authorizations to support the Service's recovery program have increased since the 1988 amendments. In FY 1993 and FY 1994, recovery represented approximately 31 percent of the Service's total endangered species budget. Species with specific recovery activities funded as a result of Congressional directives, or activities funded as a Service directive, are presented in Table 3. These directives represented 55 percent and 35 percent of the total recovery appropriation in FY 1993 and FY 1994, respectively. Directives represent a substantial portion of the money available for implementing recovery and limit the money remaining for recovery actions benefitting other species.

Table 3: Recovery Program Directives for FY 1993 and 1994
Fiscal Year 1993                                          Fiscal Year 1994

$    77,000     Kirtland's warbler                        $   100,000     Kirtland's warbler
$   450,000     Grizzly bear                              $   200,000     Grizzly bear
$   377,000     Peregrine falcon                          $   400,000     Peregrine falcon
$   848,000     California condor                         $   600,000     California condor
$   265,000     Sea turtles                               $   300,000     Sea turtles
$   339,000     Southern sea otter                        $   300,000     Southern sea otter
$   681,000     Hawaiian birds                            $   500,000     Hawaiian birds
$   805,000     Rocky Mountain wolf                       $   600,000     Rocky Mountain wolf
                (Animal Damage Control included)                          (Animal Damage Control included)
$   680,000     Puerto Rican parrot                       $   400,000     Whooping crane
$   144,000     Cui-ui                                    $   300,000     Black-footed ferret
$   340,000     Whooping crane                            $   100,000     Florida panther
$   280,000     Black-footed ferret                       $   500,000     West Indian manatee
$    74,000     Florida panther                           $   400,000     Aleutian Canada goose
$   435,000     West Indian manatee                       $ 2,000,000     Northern spotted owl
$   395,000     Aleutian Canada goose                     $   300,000     Desert tortoise
$   132,000     Bruneau hot springsnail                   $   600,000     Red wolf
$ 2,685,000     Northern spotted owl                      $   624,000     Upper Colorado River fishes
$   286,000     Desert tortoise                           $   300,000     Pacific Islands
$   665,000     Red wolf                                  $   400,000     Mexican grey wolf
$   624,000     Upper Colorado River fishes               $   218,000     Steller's/Spectacled eider
$   297,000     Hawaiian species                          $   100,000     Piping plover
$    91,000     Central Valley                            $   450,000     Freshwater molluscs
$   296,000     Piping Plover                             $   200,000     San Juan
$   147,000     San Juan                                  $   350,000     Mexican spotted owl
$   154,000     Mexican grey wolf                         $   150,000     Edward's aquifer
$   297,000     Pacific Islands
$    30,000     Southeast fishes

$11,894,000     TOTAL DIRECTIVES                          $10,392,000     TOTAL DIRECTIVES
$20,065,000     TOTAL FY 1993 RECOVERY                    $29,550,000     TOTAL FY 1994 RECOVERY
                APPROPRIATION                                             APPROPRIATION
Summary of the Status of Listed Species

Figure 1 shows the percentage of listed species represented in the major taxonomic groups as of September 30, 1994. Map 2 shows the number of listed species in each State and Trust Territory as of September 30, 1994.

GIF-Distribution of listed species by taxonomic group

GIF-Listed species by state/territory

Figure 2 summarizes the status of 776 species listed as of 1993 through an analysis of the status and trends based on 5 year intervals. This figure shows the percent of species, divided according to time of listing in 5 year intervals, that are known to be stable or improving, declining, or for which the population trend is uncertain. Stable or improving species are those for which the trend toward extinction has been halted or reversed in the wild.

GIF-Summary of the current population trends of listed species

Overall, the data on stable or increasing species illustrates that while recovery of listed species takes time it can be achieved. Just as the threats to these species accumulated through time to result in the precarious status seen for many species today, recovery also takes time.

The following definitions of population trend categories are useful in interpreting the data presented in figure 2:

Improving: species known to be increasing in numbers and/or whose threats to their continued existence are lessening in the wild.

Stable: species known to have stable numbers over the recent past and whose threats have remained relatively constant or diminished in the wild.

Declining: species known to be decreasing in numbers and/or whose threats to their continued existence are increasing in the wild.

Uncertain: species where additional survey work is required to determine the trend in their status.

Of the 108 species listed between 1968 and 1973, 58 percent are currently known to be stable or improving in their native habitats. Of the 294 species listed between 1989 and 1993, only 22 percent have recovered to the point that they are stable or increasing. For the species in decline or where population trends are uncertain, the Service and its partners in recovery are collecting biological information, developing recovery strategies, and implementing management activities that will stabilize the species and halt or reverse the trend toward extinction for many of these species.

The extraordinary success of the recovery program is demonstrated by the fact that even with a substantial increase in the number of species listed over the past decade, over 41 percent of the 909 species listed as of September 30, 1994, have stabilized or are improving. This success is attributed to the efforts of the Service, other Federal agencies, States, tribal governments, and private individuals and organizations. Their efforts have similarly managed to hold those species with declining population trends to an overall average of 35 percent of total listed species. For some of these species, severely depressed populations may take a very long time to turn the corner toward recovery. For others, populations may have become so depressed or habitat so limited, that full recovery is not likely. Of all the species listed between 1968 and 1993, only 7, or less than 1 percent, have been officially recognized as extinct, and subsequently delisted. Several other species (e.g., Scioto madtom, Bachman's warbler) have not been located in a number of years and may also be extinct. These species will be delisted when supporting evidence is relatively conclusive. Though extinct species represent an irreplaceable loss to the biodiversity of our natural flora and fauna, the fact that almost 99 percent of listed species remain extant speaks to the success of the Act as a mechanism for conservation of species at risk of extinction. The percent of species for which the population trend is uncertain is indicated in the figure and, overall, there is an average of only 23 percent of listed species for which the population trend continues to be uncertain.

Figure 2 shows that the percent species increased noticeably within the past 10 years. The population trend of a species can remain uncertain for several reasons. In many cases, these species have not been listed for a sufficient period of time, and consequently their populations not monitored long enough, to establish clear information on population trend. Other species, including some that have been listed for many years, may have uncertain status as a result of their rarity, remoteness and/or inaccessibility of habitat, or significant, unmanageable threats to the species throughout its entire range. Rare Hawaiian rainforest birds, oceanic sea turtles, and subterranean salamanders are examples of species where inaccessibility of habitat may result in uncertain population trends. The status of the Houston toad remains uncertain as a result of its occurrence primarily on private lands where the Service lacks access to conduct population surveys. Still other species do not fit clearly into the population trend categories and their trend is listed as uncertain by default. As funding permits, the Service is conducting status surveys to determine the population trend for species where the trend is uncertain.

Species-by-Species Status Summary

JPG-Knowlton cactus JPG-Green sea turtle

The status of all listed species under the Service's jurisdiction (United States and Trust Territories) as of September 30, 1994, has been summarized in the Appendix. As of September 30, 1994, 909 species were listed as endangered or threatened in the United States and Trust Territories. Of the 909, 893 are under the jurisdiction of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Of these 893 species, 484 (54 percent) had final approved recovery plans as of September 30, 1994, and another 185 (21 percent) have approved draft recovery plans. Two hundred eighty two of these species have been listed for less than 3 years. For the most part, species listed less than 3 years do not yet have approved recovery plans. Most do, however, have plans in some stage of development. There are 14 species for which the Service has determined that a recovery plan is not needed.

GIF-Relict trillium

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