New Recovery Plan Review Focuses on Actions for Listed Threatened and Endangered Species

A new report is available that focuses on recovery actions for species listed as Endangered or Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The document, Recovery Plan Review for Downlisting/Delisting, presents 80 multi-species conservation actions to downlist or delist 27 species along the Gulf of Mexico. The actions are taken directly from Recovery Plans and 5-year review documents. The purpose of this project was to identify restoration actions that could impact multiple species in multiple states. The project was conducted with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (Alliance) Wildlife and Fisheries Team (WFT) through a 2016 Gulf Star award.

The Alliance WFT has two fundamental overarching goals. They are to understand and support diverse wildlife and fisheries populations to sustain a resilient Gulf of Mexico ecosystem; and, to inform conservation and policy decision makers through collaboration. Team members partner and are involved in many projects in the Gulf region that utilize restoration funds to restore habitats shared by listed species. The first Team action was to compile and synthesize existing information regarding status and trends, threats, and habitat linkages of wildlife and fisheries species to identity key data gaps.

The WFT selected Ashley Ballou Consultant to perform this work. She compiled and synthesized the recovery actions of 27 species to develop 80 multi-species actions. These were then prioritized based on the number of species they will benefit, the priority assigned to each original action in its recovery plan, and number of states the action is relevant in. The result is a prioritized list of multi-species actions for listed species living along the Gulf Coast.

The Recovery Plans are “road maps” drafted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries, state wildlife agencies or other knowledgeable individuals or groups that serves as a guide for activities to be undertaken to recover and conserve endangered or threatened species. A recovery plan includes a description of the needed management actions; objective, measurable criteria which when met would lead to the species being removed from federal protection; and an estimate of the time required and cost to carry out those measures. Recovery plans may include brief discussions of the species’ biology, life history and threats to it.

With the ongoing implementation of restoration projects and the recent impacts from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, this report can be a valuable screening tool. Accompanying the document is a spreadsheet of the compiled species-specific actions from each federal recovery plan and associated information, including priority, description and implementation status.

The Alliance hopes that the report and companion priorities are shared widely to encourage the best actions for species recovery. Contact Julia Lightner for more information.

View our presentation for highlights of the report.

Photo: USFWS

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