Alaska Threatened and Endangered Species
BLM Special Status Species are:
- species listed or proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and
- species requiring special management consideration to promote their conservation and reduce the likelihood and need for future listing under the ESA. These species are designated as BLM Sensitive by each BLM state.
While there are eight species in Alaska listed as ESA Threatened or Endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, BLM Alaska has only four that regularly occur on land we manage. Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri) and spectacled eider (Somateria fischeri) utilize BLM managed habitat on Alaska’s North Slope. BLM is active in efforts to recover both species through habitat management, research, and education efforts. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) management for BLM is primarily focused on identifying and minimizing impacts to dens and minimizing human-bear conflict. Wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) were recently reintroduced onto land in the Innoko Bottoms area and spend significant time on BLM managed lands. Wood bison in Alaska have a special ESA 10(j) designation as an experimental population. Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens), a candidate species for listing, are increasingly hauling out on BLM managed lands and are becoming a species we will be working with more actively in the future as sea ice declines.
BLM management of ESA listed species is twofold, both proactive and compliance-based. ESA Section 7(a)(1) requires the BLM to use its authorities to further the purposes of the ESA by implementing programs for the conservation of threatened and endangered species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. ESA Section 7(a)2 applies to all discretionary actions undertaken or authorized by the BLM that may affect a listed or proposed species or designated or proposed critical habitat. BLM engages the FWS and/or NMFS early in the project development process and seeks recommendations designed to minimize or avoid potential adverse affects to resources protected under the ESA.
BLM must designate and manage sensitive species in part to reduce the need for new ESA listings. BLM Alaska currently has 24 wildlife species and 50 plant species designated as BLM Sensitive. These are species that have identified threats and/or downward population trends that occur on BLM in significant enough populations or have specialized habitat on BLM land that land management can affect the populations and the status of the species. The BLM Sensitive Species list is due to be revised soon, so check back for updates.
BLM works with many partner agencies to manage and recover special status species, including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, US Geological Survey, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, tribal corporations and local governments.
Download BLM Alaska Data