The US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is working under a new framework in evaluating status and needs of imperiled species. First, through the application of the Species Status Assessment (SSA) Framework to guide the listing process under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Secondly, to help foster accelerated conservation of species at-risk in advancing pre-listing conservation planning and partnerships to secure populations and preclude the need for listing and regulatory oversight under policy provisions of the ESA..
What is behind this approach to doing conservation? It's really about being proactive. We believe that by assessing and addressing at risk species proactively, versus doing this kind of during the listing process, we can really work to prioritize our conservation and management actions to change and improve a species population trajectory and keep them off the list. So we are really looking to preclude the need to list or to prioritize species that we can delist or down list. In some cases we have this opportunity to actively engage in a process that may lead to a decision to down list or preclude the need to list. The Species Status Assessment (SSA) Framework course explains how we organize information to move forward with conservation measures for those species.
The SSA represents a significant change in the way the Service approaches to listing: it separates the listing determination from the scientific assessment process.
- The two components allow staff to engage people from outside the Service with critical expertise with particular expertise or knowledge about the species, habitat, or related taxa or systems, to engage in the scientific component of the listing process; thus improving access to information to inform the decision making policy component.
- But this also serves all aspects of the endangered species and recovery work whether it be listing or pre-listing conservation, identifying critical habitat, Section 10 permitting process or consultations, or identifying potential impacts to the species with our without implementing a particular project.
The first course in this series ("Species Status Assessment Framework") will present: an introduction to the work elements that make up the SSA Framework. The SSA is structured as a three-phase analysis: biological needs of the species, availability or threats to meeting those needs as its current condition, and how the needs may be influenced in the future (ie., future condition). (see figure 1 below, on the left).
The second course in this series ("Pre-listing Conservation") will present: The pre-listing conservation provides the policy foundation for our work and if possible, criteria to demonstrate effective implementation and effectiveness to preclude listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Policy for the Evaluation of Conservation Efforts (PECE) that guides our section 4 (b)(1)(A) analysis. (see figure 2 below, on the right that lays out the many realms of management or decision-making that encompass the ESA.)