U.S. Endangered Species Act
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                               
 
 

U.S. Endangered Species Act

Listings under the U.S. Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Endangered Species Act (U.S. ESA) is the primary legislation that affords federal legal protections to threatened and endangered species in the United States, and is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) (http://endangered.fws.gov/) and U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/prot_res/overview/es.html). As defined by the Act, endangered refers to species that are "in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range," while threatened refers to “those animals and plants likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of their ranges.” Plant species and varieties (including fungi and lichens), animal species and subspecies, and vertebrate animal populations are eligible for listing under the Act.

Status under the U.S. Endangered Species Act provided by NatureServe Explorer is based on formal notices published by USFWS or NMFS in the Federal Register. The date shown alongside the status (in parentheses) refers to the formal Federal Register publication date regarding the status designation. Dates appear only for taxa and populations that are specifically named in a Federal Register Notice of Review Table or in the section of a Federal Register Proposed or Final Rule that proposes or declares an amendment to 50 Code of Federal Regulations Part 17 Section 11 or 12 (i.e., changes to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants).

Specifically, dates represent:

For listed endangered and threatened taxa and populations: the date of publication of the Federal Register “Final Rule” for the taxon or population.

For proposed taxa and populations: the date of publication of the most recent Federal Register “Proposed Rule” for the taxon or population.

For candidate taxa and populations: the date of publication of the most recent "Notice of Reclassification" or “Notice of Review” in which the candidate appears.

NatureServe staff regularly update the central databases with changes in status due to proposals and determinations to add taxa to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants as published in the Federal Register. Addition and removal of candidates in Notices of Review or Notices of Reclassification are entered after publication in the Federal Register. NatureServe Explorer is updated periodically from the NatureServe Central Databases and reflects the federal status current at the time of update.

ESA Status Definitions in NatureServe Explorer

NatureServe Explorer generally uses the same scientific name as USFWS for species with status under the Endangered Species Act. For listed population segments of vertebrate animals, NatureServe Explorer information can typically be found in the species record associated with the subspecies or population. Where names used by the USFWS differ from those used by NatureServe, NatureServe Explorer records are cross-referenced and can be found using either name. The following table provides abbreviations and definitions for various listing statuses under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

U.S. Endangered Species Act Abbreviations

NatureServe Explorer
Abbreviation

Status Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act

LE 

Listed endangered

LT

Listed threatened

PE

Proposed endangered

PT

Proposed threatened

C

Candidate

SC

Species of Concern

PDL

Proposed for delisting

SAE or SAT

Listed endangered or threatened because of similarity of appearance

PSAE or PSAT

Proposed endangered or threatened because of similarity of appearance

XE

Essential experimental population

XN

Nonessential experimental population

Null value

Usually indicates that the taxon does not have any federal status. However, because of potential lag time between publication in the Federal Register and entry in the central databases and refresh of this website, some taxa may have a status which does not yet appear.

Status Due to Taxonomic Relationship ("Implied USESA Status")

In some cases species or infraspecific taxa may not be named in a federal register notice, but may still have federal protection due to their taxonomic relationship with formally listed taxa. Section 17.11(g) of the Endangered Species Act states, "the listing of a particular taxon includes all lower taxonomic units." Also, if an infraspecific taxon or population has federal status, then by default, some part of the species has federal protection. NatureServe Explorer notes where federal protection of a taxon is "implied" through such taxonomic relationships. Where federal status is implied due to a taxonomic relationship alone, the status abbreviation appears with a flag (1 or 5) and no date of listing is given.

Status of Geopolitically or Administratively Defined Populations

Distinct population segments of vertebrate animals may be listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Listed populations may be defined by geopolitical boundaries (i.e., the status applies to the species or subspecies only within those boundaries, even though the taxon may range more broadly), or populations may be defined administratively (e.g., experimental populations). Because such populations do not typically have individual records in NatureServe Explorer, the U.S. ESA status is recorded for the species or subspecies to which that population belongs. In these cases, the status abbreviation appears with a flag (5), after the abbreviation "PS" for "partial status" - indicating that the status applies only to a portion of the species' range.

Implied ESA Status Notations (Status Due to Taxonomic Relationship)

Example

Explanation

Definition

value (date)

Basic value

The taxon is named in the Federal Register and has one status.

Value, Value(date)

Combination Values
(U.S. ESA)

The taxon has one status currently, but a more recent proposal has been made to change that status with no final action yet published. For example, "LE, PDL" indicates that the species is currently listed as endangered, but has been proposed for delisting. Or, the taxon has two or more different statuses throughout its range. More specifically, it has a status in one portion of its range and one or more different statuses in the remainder of its range. The date corresponds to the first listed value.

Value

Flagged Values
(Implied U.S. ESA)

The taxon itself is not named in the Federal Register as having U.S. ESA status; however, it does have U.S. ESA status as a result of its taxonomic relationship to a named entity. For example, if a species is federally listed as endangered, then by default, all of its recognized subspecies also have endangered status. The subspecies in this example would have the value "LE (1)" under U.S. ESA Status. Likewise, if all of a species' infraspecific taxa (rangewide) have the same U.S. ESA status, then that status appears in the record for the "full" species as well. In this case, if the taxon at the species level is not mentioned in the Federal Register, the status appears in NatureServe Explorer with a flag (1).In the case of full species records where at least one but not all of the species' infraspecific taxa or populations has U.S. ESA status, the full species will be listed as having "Partial Status"; see below.

Value, Value

Combination flagged values
(Implied U.S. ESA)

The taxon itself is not named in the Federal Register as having U.S. ESA status; however, all of its infraspecific taxa (rangewide) have official status but two or more of the taxa do not have the same status. In this case, a combination of the statuses shown with a flag (7) indicates the statuses that apply to infraspecific taxa or populations within this taxon.

PS

Partial Status
(Implied U.S. ESA)

Indicates "partial status"—status in only a portion of the species' range. Typically indicated in a "full" species record where at least one but not all of a species' infraspecific taxa or populations has U.S. ESA status.

PS:Value

Partial Status
(Implied U.S. ESA)

Indicates "partial status"—status in only a portion of the species' range. The value of that status appears because the listed entity (usually a population defined by geopolitical boundaries or defined administratively, such as experimental populations) does not have an individual entry in NatureServe Explorer. Information about the listed entity can be found in reports for the associated species.

 


 
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