Fish, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation

Recovery Plans

The approach for the recovery of listed species is generally detailed in recovery plans, completed for nearly 85 percent of listed species. These plans are developed under the leadership of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service. The BLM is typically a stakeholder in developing the recovery plans for species that depend on habitat managed by the agency. As of 2010, the BLM is participating in development of more than 45 recovery or conservation plans for listed species.

In implementing recovery plans, the BLM works with partners such as state fish and game agencies, other federal agencies and non-governmental agencies. Partners may provide expertise, labor, or funds to help recover a species. Recovery actions are wide-ranging in cost and scope, from habitat restoration to research to reestablishment of experimental populations.

Recovery Actions

Species recovery starts with one or more inventories to determine a species presence or absence on public lands. Where species are present, the BLM actively engages in planning for its recovery. BLM field biologists and managers may serve on interagency recovery teams. On the ground,  BLM then focuses resources on implementing actions in the recovery plan  Recovery actions may include monitoring of populations, restoring or maintaining suitable habitat, conducting research to understand and address threats to the species, and participating in efforts to establish new populations. As of 2010, the BLM is participating in the implementation of more than 1,600 actions identified in recovery plans, including restoration or enhancement of more than 30,000 acres of habitat for the direct benefit of listed species.

Endangered Species Recovery Fund

A priority of the BLM’s Threatened and Endangered Species Program is to recover listed plant and animal species occurring on public lands so they can be removed from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species as well as to recover species that are "candidates" for listing to preclude the need to list them. This is especially important for species that depend on BLM-managed public lands to provide a majority of their habitat. (More than 150 listed species, and a number of candidate species, are in this category.) 

The BLM estimates that a number of species could be delisted (or downlisted from endangered to threatened) if targeted funding were directed to the specific recovery actions needed. In 2010, the BLM established the Endangered Species Recovery Fund where approximately $1.5 million dollars is awarded competitively each year for three years for key recovery tasks that culminate in a delisting or downlisting of a listed species or removal of a species from candidate consideration. The BLM coordinates with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to achieve these objectives and to focus funds where species recovery on BLM lands would be optimized. BLM Field Offices use these funds to implement on-the-ground recovery actions identified in recovery plans.

As of 2014, in the past 3 years, the BLM’s Recovery Fund has supported projects totaling about $4 million to benefit more than 40 federally-designated species.  This is only a fraction of BLM’s total expenditure of more than $75 million in 3 years for all listed and candidate species on public lands.  But it is making a big difference.

For example, the Fish and Wildlife Service delisted Utah’s Maguire daisy in 2011 after BLM funded surveys aided in documenting recovery success. In October 2013, the Service withdrew its proposal to list the Coral Pink Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle in southern Utah due in part to BLM efforts funded by the Recovery Fund.  The next month, the Service proposed delisting the Inyo California Towhee, a small bird found in the Mohave Desert that benefited from Recovery Fund support. And today, the Borax Lake Chub, a rare minnow isolated to Borax Lake in southeastern Oregon, is making a comeback, thanks to continued support from the BLM and its partners. These are just a few examples of the impact of the Endangered Species Recovery Fund.

The BLM is now reaching out to other Federal agencies in an effort to expand the fight for these listed and candidate species.

By focusing on those projects that play a significant role in recovery, or in preventing the need to list a species, the BLM hopes to make a major contribution toward recovery, and eventual delisting, of specific species, while continuing to invest significant resources on habitat conservation to benefit all wildlife and plants on the public lands.

ESA Section 7 Consultation 

In addition to recovery planning and implementation, the BLM also is responsible for consultation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the ESA, the BLM (and other federal agencies) must consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and/or the National Marine Fisheries Service whenever it determines that an action it authorizes, funds, or carries out may affect a listed species.

The Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the protection of the nation's federally-listed plants and animals, with the exception of marine species managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service. [FWS manages a few marine mammals such as sea and marine otters, walrus, polar bear, 3 species of manatees, and dugong (sea cow)].

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service's ESA Section 7 Consultation program is described here: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/consultations/index.html

The National Marine Fisheries Service (part of the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) manages federally-listed marine species, such as marine turtles, fish, invertebrates, and some marine mammals.

The National Marine Fisheries Service's ESA Section 7 Consultation program is described here:  http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/consultation/