U.S. Threatened and Endangered Species
The federal government has listed nearly 1,400 species as threatened or endangered. A number of additional species are under review for potential listing, changes to their listing status or revision of critical habitat designation.1 Unfortunately, there is no single, definitive public list of all species in the U.S. under review.
Texans can learn more about the impact of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), however, by tracking these issues through several different sources.
Two federal agencies are responsible for implementing the ESA — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
FWS is responsible for terrestrial and freshwater species.
- See FWS species proposed for listing by state.
- See FWS candidates for listing by state. Candidates are species FWS believes warrant listing, but is not acting upon at present due to other, more pressing priorities. They may be proposed for listing at a later date.
- Search for species currently listed by state.
NMFS is responsible for most marine species.
- See NMFS candidate and proposed species.
FWS Multi-Year Work Plan and Settlement Agreements
A significant number of species are under review for listing based on petitions. Learn more about the listing process.
The number of petitions FWS received in the past few years is significantly more than over the history of the ESA.
According to the FWS:
“The Service was petitioned to list an average of 20 species per year from 1994 to 2006. By contrast, since 2007, the Service has been petitioned to list more than 1,250 species, nearly as many species as the agency listed during the previous 30 years of administering the ESA. The Service was petitioned to list 695 species in 2007, 56 species in 2008, 63 species in 2009, and 451 species in 2010.2
The ESA requires decisions to be made on petitions within certain time periods. When an agency does not act on a petition in the required time, they may be subject to lawsuits.
On Sept. 9, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved a multi-year work plan for FWS, as part of two settlement agreements to review a large number of species cited in petition-related lawsuits. In its plan, FWS agreed to make decisions on the status of 251 candidate species and a number of petitions to list and revise the status of other species across the country.3
FWS released a schedule of actions the agency will take in Federal Fiscal 2013-2018 to review species addressed in the 2011 FWS multi-year work plan and settlement agreements. This schedule does not reflect all FWS activity during this time period. According to FWS, the agency anticipates initiating other listing actions within this timeframe.
At least 1,001 species are included in the work plan and related settlement agreements.4
Learn more about the FWS work plan.
Distribution of Species in 2011 FWS Multi-Year Work Plan and Settlement Agreements
The map includes species in the settlement that are petitioned for:
- revisions to critical habitat designation
- designations as distinct population segments
Note: We were not able to determine the definitive location for all species included in settlement agreements, specifically several species possibly located in Hawaii.
This represents only a fraction of the species under review for potential listing or changes to listing status. Species included in this count are only those included in the settlement agreements finalized Sept. 9, 2011.
It does not include:
- all petitions received by FWS
- other actions taken by the agency to review species
- or any species under review by NMFS.
Source: Compiled by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts based on information from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NatureServe and species petitions.
Information on species reviewed and determined not to be warranted for listing at this time is provided as a reference to identify species which may be of concern. More information can be found at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Endangered Species Program, Listing Work Plan.
More Species Are Under Review
Again, the 2011 work plan and related settlement agreements do not include all species under review. For example, the settlement agreements cover 73 species found in Texas.
However, an in-depth review of the settlement, other outstanding petitions and current FWS and NMFS actions indicates that more than 100 species found in Texas are under review5
Impact to Important Economic Sectors
Endangered species regulations could potentially impact economic growth across the country. Because of this potential impact, it is important to ensure all decisions regarding listings are based on credible and complete scientific data and made in a transparent and reasonable process.
Learn more about what species are currently listed, proposed for listing or candidates for listing across the country as well as examples of interaction between species and economic development on the map below.
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
- 1 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Summary of Listed Species Listed Populations and Recovery Plans as of Wed, March 21, 2012,” ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/pub/boxScore.jsp (Last visited March 21, 2012.)
- 2 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Listing Program Work Plan Questions and Answers, www.fws.gov/endangered/improving_ESA/FWS%20Listing%20Program%20Work%20Plan%20FAQs%20FINAL.PDF.
- 3 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Improving ESA Implementation, Listing Work Plan,” www.fws.gov/endangered/improving_ESA/listing_workplan.html (Last visited March 20, 2012.)
- 4 Compiled by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts based on information from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NatureServe and species petitions. Includes species included in the settlement that are petitioned for listing, revisions to critical habitat designation, and designation as Distinct Population Segments. Information on species reviewed and determined not warranted for listing at this time is provided as reference to identify species which may be of concern. More information can be found at the following locations: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Endangered Species Program, Listing Work Plan.
- 5 Includes species currently under review for possible listing; species under review for changes to listing status or critical habitat designation; species that have been reviewed and determined not to be warranted for listing or for which no further action is expected at this time; and species that have been removed from the list at this time. (As of July 26, 2012).
All links were valid at the time of publication. Changes to websites not maintained by the office of the Texas Comptroller may not be reflected in the links on this page.