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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.

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Progress for Protection

After our Endangered Species Act settlement concluded in 2016, we compiled a report on the results—from the species and habitats that received protections to what we’ll strive for in the next decade.

Read the report

Photo Credit: Louis Swift

Defend the Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act is our country’s most essential environmental law protecting plants and animals, yet some members of Congress want to weaken the law. Tell Congress you value native wildlife and want to see all imperiled species protected.

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Hope for Endangered Species Act Candidates

We are currently in the midst of the sixth mass extinction. One species is responsible: our own. Thanks to humans, hundreds of animals and plants risk disappearing from our planet forever. But there is hope, thanks to WildEarth Guardians and a historic Endangered Species Act settlement we engineered.

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