Photo Credit: Jillian Cooper
WildEarth Guardians Endangered Species Act win – breaking the “listing logjam” for hundreds of species
Candidate Settlement Milestone
In May 2011, we entered into a historic and sweeping settlement agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which ended years—and sometimes decades—of waiting for many imperiled species on the candidate list.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designates species as “candidates” for protection under the Endangered Species Act when listing them as “threatened” or “endangered” is precluded by higher priorities. Some candidate species waited on the candidate list for decades with no protection under the Act. When actual listings slowed to a near-standstill, even as the threats to imperiled species grew more urgent and severe, Guardians acted by crafting an agreement with the Service to break the “listing logjam.”
The five-year agreement, entered into in 2011, required the Service to make final decisions on whether or not to protect 252 candidate species that the agency had already acknowledged needed protections under the Act. Nearly 70 percent of the candidate species in the settlement are now protected. 2,713,154,7 acres of land (an area larger than Yellowstone National Park) and 6,380.4 stream and river miles were also protected as habitat critical to those species’ survival and recovery.
Of the 252 candidate species included in the agreement, 174 were proposed for listing or were listed, and 193 species were granted full protections under the Endangered Species Act. These include the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, the Gunnison sage-grouse, the Jemez Mountains salamander, and the yellow-billed cuckoo.